SAMOHI — After announcing plans to leave his post as the head coach for Santa Monica High School’s girls’ basketball team earlier this year, Marty Verdugo is reversing course and has decided to stay at the school for “the long haul.”

“I measured the quality of life, the school district and what I’m good at and decided that the best thing for me would be to stay at the school,” Verdugo told the Daily Press on Tuesday. “I have all of that right here and I have a great group of girls.”

Verdugo planned to leave the job originally because he felt that he had accomplished what he set out to do when he took the position five years ago, but realized after weighing his options that he saw a new set of challenges ahead if he stayed.

In those five years, Verdugo has built Samohi’s program into a SoCal powerhouse culminating in the school’s first CIF-Southern Section title in the sport last year. This season, he led the Vikings back to the postseason, making an appearance in the semi-finals of the Division 1AA playoffs where they lost to eventual champ Mater Dei.

“I needed to make a move and decided this was it,” Verdugo said.

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