SAMOHI — The awards keep coming for the Vikings’ Marty Verdugo.
Coming off the first California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section girls basketball championship in Santa Monica High School history this past season, Verdugo has been named the Division 1 state coach of the year by Cal-Hi Sports.
“For me, this has brought everything together,” Verdugo said. “This makes it all worth it.”
This latest award is one of many the four-year coach has received following a 28-7 season. Verdugo was named the Ocean League coach of the year and was tapped as the CIF-SS Division 1A coach of the year as well this season.
Since taking over the program, Verdugo has openly said that his goal was to make Samohi’s girls team into one of the elite programs in Southern California. That goal was achieved this year as the team won its first CIF-SS title and progressed to the SoCal regional semi-finals of the CIF State Championships.
Among the factors for Samohi’s recent success on the hardwood is the development of major college prospects. Senior point guard and CIF-SS Division 1A player of the year Thea Lemberger has signed a letter of intent to play for UCLA next season. Fellow senior Lilly Feder has committed to play for UC San Diego, joining her sister Daisy, who played for Verdugo when he first became head coach. Juniors Moriah Faulk, Kristina Johnson and Bianka Balthazar have already attracted the attention of college recruiters, giving next year’s team a formidable nucleus of returners.
While the award may be an individual honor, Verdugo said he couldn’t have done it without the input from assistants Terry Cooke and Marisa Silvestri.
“They’ve been with me from the beginning,” Verdugo said of his staff. “Both have been so important to what we’re trying to accomplish here.”