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Olsson says this is it, for real

Posted: March 11, 2008 11:58 p.m.
Updated: May 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Former Saugus girls basketball coach Eric Olsson reacts during a game Jan. 18. After eight non-consecutive seasons as head coach, Olsson resigned Tuesday.

This time it's for real.

Saugus High girls basketball head coach Eric Olsson has resigned for the second time in a year, but now it's official.

Olsson informed his administration Tuesday morning that due to health concerns, he could no longer coach the Centurions.

Olsson resigned March 1, 2007 and intended to become an assistant coach for the College of the Canyons women's basketball team, but had a change of heart and returned 13 days later.

He also resigned after the 2002-03 season to take a job at Clovis West High, where he won a CIF championship in 2004.

He then returned to Saugus the following season.

"I came back last year for all the right reasons, but I also resigned for all the right reasons," Olsson said. "The wear and tear on me and my family have been too much."

Olsson finishes his career with the Saugus girls after eight seasons and accumulating over 150 wins.

The Centurions shared the Foothill League title in 2008 with Hart, marking Olsson's third championship with the squad.

Saugus finished 21-7, but saw an early exit in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A playoffs with a first-round 56-41 loss to Dana Hills.

Saugus had never won a league title nor a playoff win prior to Olsson.

He won eight playoff games and made it to the quarterfinals in three consecutive playoffs from 2001 to 2003.

The 49-year-old previously coached the Saugus boys for 11 years.

Olsson said he had health problems last summer and a doctor advised him not to continue.

He did so anyway.

"Things haven't improved," he said. "It's time for me to take care of me and I have a 6-year-old. She needs dad around."

The resignation is ironic in that Olsson's best friend Jeff Hallman resigned as Saugus boys head coach March 3.

Olsson said there is no connection.

"Jeff and I are close. We talk about a lot of things. Both of us are Christian people. We believe that faith comes before basketball," he said. "But there's no general consensus that let's go out together. I knew last summer it would probably be my last season."

That's ironic because Hallman said the same thing last week.

Hallman championed assistant Derek Ballard as his successor.

Olsson gave support to assistant coach Jason Conn, whose daughter and All-Santa Clarita Valley and All-Foothill League performer Gabrielle will return for her senior season in 2008-09.

Conn, though, is not a teacher at Saugus.

Ballard is.

Co-athletic director Kevin Miner said the school is looking to hire from within.


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