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Stanojevic Returns to High School Coaching

By Ken Sickenger
Journal Staff Writer
    Vladi Stanojevic won't miss a season of prep soccer coaching after all.
    Stanojevic was confirmed as the girls soccer coach at Sandia High School on Tuesday, four months after his controversial resignation as boys coach at Eldorado.
    "It's a refreshing new start in my professional life," said Stanojevic, who also will teach American literature at Sandia. "You have kids who are passionate about soccer and the school has great tradition. It's a great fit for me."
    Stanojevic had a remarkably successful 12-year run at Eldorado, amassing a 200-39 record and winning four state championships. But he also coached boys club soccer during much of that span, which led to a messy departure from Eldorado.
    A longstanding but sporadically enforced New Mexico Activities Association rule prohibits high school coaches from also coaching same-gender club programs.
    Citing that rule, Eldorado principal Yvonne G. Parrillo required Stanojevic to choose between high school and club coaching. Stanojevic elected to retain his lucrative club position and resigned as EHS coach in late February.
    However, Stanojevic said the NMAA rule was being selectively enforced and later sued Parrillo, Albuquerque Public Schools and the NMAA for violating his civil rights. Those lawsuits still are pending.
    "We've gone through one round of facilitation with the judges, and we're hoping we can reach some kind of detente," said Clay Crowley, Stanojevic's attorney. "This hiring certainly is a step in the right direction."
    Sandia athletic director Tom Knauber said Stanojevic's legal entanglements weren't a consideration in his hiring.
    "We're ecstatic about the whole thing," Knauber said. "When someone of Vladi's caliber shows up on the interview list, it's almost a no-brainer on our part. We submitted his paperwork to (APS) human resources and it all came back A-OK."
    The NMAA's out-of-season coaching regulations don't prohibit coaches from working with clubs of the opposite gender of their school team. As a result, Stanojevic can coach Sandia's girls without giving up his position as a boys club coach.
    Stanojevic said most of his coaching experience is with boys, but he did coach a girls club team in 1996 and '97 and has worked with girls at various clinics.
    "Soccer's soccer," Stanojevic said. "Tactically, the girls' and boys' games are very similar. I'm sure there are details I'll be learning firsthand, but I welcome the challenge."
    Stanojevic replaces Rebecca Bickleman, who resigned after six seasons to move out of state.
    DEL NORTE: Matt Aragon has been named the Knights' interim baseball coach for next season, according to an APS press release.
    Aragon took over at the end of last season after Chad Kuhn was placed on administrative leave. Kuhn resigned last week and Aragon's interim position subsequently was extended.
    ACADEMY: Brantley Lutz has been named girls cross-country coach at Albuquerque Academy. He replaces Sheryl Clemmer, who will remain at the school as a teacher and track coach but needed more time for her family, athletic director Taryn Bachis said.
    VALLEY: Bob Moore, who retired after more than 20 years of coaching volleyball in California, will coach both volleyball and golf for the Vikings. John Hoffman resigned as Valley's volleyball coach after last season, citing increased work commitments.