SAMOHI — With the school year quickly approaching, the search is on to find a replacement for long-time softball coach Debbie Skaggs.

After leading Santa Monica High School’s softball team to its first-ever California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section championship in the sport this past season, Skaggs left the team after 24 years at the helm.

Replacing a campus fixture like Skaggs, who will stay at the school as a teacher, won’t be easy, but new Samohi Athletic Director Daniel Escalera said he’s busy trying to find a suitable replacement.

“It would be nice to find somebody on campus who is experienced and qualified,” Escalera said. “We’d love to keep it in house.”

To date, Escalera said that he has received word from a handful of people interested in the position. Because of budget limitations, he can’t offer applicants from outside the school community a teaching position to go along with the coaching gig.

Escalera said that he doesn’t have a timeline, but would like to have a coach in place by the end of the month, allowing his new hire to go about the business of organizing the team for next season.

That rebuilding project will certainly be a chore as the Samohi Vikings graduated five starters who contributed greatly to the team’s unprecedented success last season.

“I want the new person to have enough time to decide what to do with the girls [on the team],” Escalera said.

daniela@smdp.com