Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor 1996 grad Sam Scholl named University of San Diego men's basketball coach

University of San Diego athletic director Bill McGillis, right, flew up to Gig Harbor, where Sam Scholl, left, signed his contract to be the new men's basketball coach at the University of San Diego.
University of San Diego athletic director Bill McGillis, right, flew up to Gig Harbor, where Sam Scholl, left, signed his contract to be the new men's basketball coach at the University of San Diego. Courtesy

Gig Harbor High School 1996 graduate Sam Scholl has been named the head coach of the University of San Diego men’s basketball team.

Scholl was previously named the interim coach of the Toreros after head coach Lamont Smith was placed on paid administrative leave after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Scholl coached the Toreros over the final four games of the season, including a run to the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.

Now, the interim tag is gone, as Scholl has been named the 13th head coach in program history for USD, which plays in the NCAA Division-I West Coast Conference.

"I am extremely humbled and honored to be the next head men's basketball coach at this very prestigious university," Scholl said in the official release. "I deeply appreciate this tremendous opportunity that has been given to me by our president, Dr. James. T. Harris, and our executive director of athletics, Bill McGillis. I have learned so much from them and can't wait to play a role in the tremendous campus community they have built here at USD. I am thrilled to continue this journey with the tremendous group of young men that are in our program.

“They are an absolute joy to work with every day and we can't wait to continue working towards the great success that is ahead of them. Gig Harbor, Washington set the foundation for me, but the University of San Diego made me who I am today. We are going to strive to be champions' every day on and off the floor and I can't wait to play a role in leading our players and future Toreros to be champions in the future."

USD athletic director Bill McGillis flew to Gig Harbor over the Easter weekend to give Scholl the contract, where he signed it, surrounded by family, including his wife, Heather, and three daughters, Riley, Reese and Regan.

With 18 years of coaching experience in the West Coast Conference, Scholl ranks fourth in years of service for active WCC coaches behind Gonzaga's Mark Few (29 years, 19 as head coach), Saint Mary's Randy Bennett (29 years, 17 as head coach at SMC) and San Francisco's Kyle Smith (19 years, two as head coach at USF). Additionally Scholl owns two years of WCC playing time having competed at USD (1998-2000). He was the Toreros' lone senior on the team's 20-9 squad from the 1999-2000 campaign and USD would post a 38-18 two-year record during Scholl's playing career.

Scholl, 40, won the Class 2A state title at Gig Harbor High School in 1996 as the point guard of the Tides.

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