It's going to take two heads to replace Santos

Ed Santos may have gotten the most difficult task out of the way first — replacing himself.

The new South Kitsap Athletic Director did just that last week, hiring Tiffany Picinich and Joanne Warren as co-coaches of the Wolves’ cross-country team.

Santos, who coached cross-country and track-and-field at South for 17 years, was named the school’s AD in late June. His first order of business was replacing himself, and he didn’t have to look very far to do it.

“Both are great people,” Santos said. “Joanne has more coaching experience than Tiffany, especially track experience and been a head coach at the junior-high level. (She’s) great organizational and is great with the kids when she coaches.

“Tiffany brings the distance running knowledge, she’s very good at that,” Santos said. “It’s just a great combination.”

Warren has been a track assistant to Santos for the past eight years, while Picinich joined as a track assistant last season and also was a member of the Wolves’ 1997 state title team before heading to Central Washington University, where she had a solid colligate career.

“They came to me. It was really their idea,” Santos said. “They came to me and said they’d like to co-head coach because they felt like it would be easier for them, so I figured we’d give it a try. And we’re excited.”

The pair takes over a very established program that has sent its girls’ team to the state cross-country meet for a state record 16 years in a row, finishing 12th last year.

The boys team has advanced to the state meet 13 of the past 16 years and placed 10th in 2004.

Santos said the summer conditioning program has been going well, despite the lack of a head coach for the past month. Both Picinich and Warren have been working with both groups throughout the summer.

“It’s exciting for me to hand it off to some folks like that, that are fired up and excited to do it,” Santos said. “It’s never easy when a coach leaves, and both these coaches, they know that.”

Part of the lure to hire the pair was the stability it would bring to the program, Santos said. Besides Warren and Picinich, assistant Paul Zimmer is also staying.

“Between the three of them, it’s a great fit for the kids because they know all three of those coaches,” Santos said. “That’s makes it easier on the kids, and that’s what I wanted.”

First day of practice for fall sports is Aug. 22, while the Wolves’ time trials are set for Sept. 2. The first meet of the year is Sept. 10 at Edmonds-Woodway.

In other coaching news, Santos said he expects to have the final assistant football coaching vacancy filled by today. The position closed earlier this week and he and football coach D.J. Sigurdson conducted interviews Thursday.

That would leave just three coaching positions open, head track and field, assistant wrestling and assistant girls basketball.

Santos said he would like to get those filled a few weeks after school starts.

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