SAMOHI — The search for a new softball coach at Santa Monica High School is over.
School officials announced Wednesday that Natalie Adame will replace Debbie Skaggs, who guided the team to its first ever California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 4 title last season.
Replacing Skaggs, who led the team for 24 seasons, won’t be easy, but Adame said that she’s looking to continuing some of the things that have been established for a program that perennially dominates the Ocean League. But, she said she won’t shy away from putting her stamp on the team.
“It’s great to come into something that has already been established,” Adame said. “It’s a little nerve wracking, but I’m ready for it.”
Adame has a long history in softball. She played at both Fresno’s Clovis West High School and later at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her most recent position was head coach at Archer School in Brentwood, where she also served as the soccer coach.
Her hiring comes as a relief to Athletic Director Daniel Escalera, who has spent his first summer on the job sifting through candidates for the position. He said that Adame’s commitment to detail and her long history in the sport were key in making his pick. The position is a walk-on coach, who will not teach at the school. She is among a growing group of walk-ons at Samohi that includes football coach Travis Clark and baseball coach Sheldon Philip-Guide.
“She’s coached everything from travel ball to high school,” Escalera said of Adame. “She knows her stuff.”
Adame had her first opportunity to meet the team on Wednesday, leaving behind the impression that although she’s a nice enough person she will demand dedication from her team that returns few starters from last year’s title team.
“I know I’m going to have to work really hard,” senior Kelsey Hom said. “I’m going to have to set a good example.”
Considering that this year’s Vikings will have a youthful look, both Hom and Adame said that mentoring younger players will be job one.
“A lot of the seniors have already stepped up,” Adame said after meeting with the team. “The younger players need to have somebody to look up to.”