Teacher and former Bear is new Mount Shasta AD

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Mariah Goodrich-Jones

Mariah Goodrich-Jones’ love for solving puzzles will no doubt serve her well in her new role as Mount Shasta High School athletic director.

She is replacing Steve Nesheim, who resigned after six years as the Bears’ AD but is continuing as a teacher and cross country and track and field coach at the school.

Nesheim said one of the puzzles ADs need to solve is the ongoing process of transitioning between walk-on coaches.

“We have great walk-on coaches, but the longevity of a walk-on coach is dependent on what else they do in their lives,” Nesheim said. “I’m so happy with the parents and community members who come on to help us. They make wonderful decisions, show great leadership and great respect, but it’s hard to hold on to them.”

Goodrich-Jones is a Mount Shasta High graduate and former athlete who played a key role on the Bears’ girls basketball teams that won back-to-back section championships in 1991 and ’92 under coach Danny Hansen.

She’s also the mother of Mount Shasta High School graduate Chance Jackson.

Goodrich-Jones returned to her alma mater 10 years ago to teach math, after teaching and coaching two sports at Happy Camp High School.

Nesheim said Goodrich-Jones has been “fast on the uptake” since she was introduced as the new AD during a coaches meeting in late May.

“She’s already way into it,” he said last week.

Nesheim has agreed to answer all her AD-related questions and help her “piece by piece” in the seasonal aspects of the job, he said.

The first position the new AD needs to fill is ski coach.

Overall, she said, “We have strong coaches,” and she was looking forward to communicating with them about their expectations.

She went to school at MSHS with head varsity football coach Jason Young, who is starting his third year in that position.

Goodrich-Jones said playing basketball for Danny Hansen was one of the highlights of her high school years.

She also fondly remembers the wild shows put on by late-principal Bob Novo the first day of school.

One year he arrived by limo in top hat and cane. Another year he came by helicopter. She remembers an MC Hammer routine and cheerleaders wearing prom dresses for the first-day festivities.

“We had lots of school spirit,” she said.

She ran track on teams coached by Dave Allen and remembers how he gave up some of his free time during spring break to work with her. She played softball for Bears teams coached by Steve Sager.

After high school, she spent “four years as a beach bum in the Virgin Islands,” got married, had a baby, went to Mexico, then Michigan, then back to the beach.

She returned to the Mt. Shasta area when her son was 18 months old and started taking classes at College of the Siskiyous. When she took calculus, she said she realized, “I want to do math problems every day... it’s fun and exciting; it’s a puzzle, and I love to solve puzzles.”

After earning a degree in math at Chico State, Goodrich-Jones said she interviewed for four teaching jobs, but turned them all down to take a position at Happy Camp High School. She hoped to eventually return to Mount Shasta and did, teaching half-time for one year before replacing Mike Hansen when he retired.

With her background as an athlete and coach and her ties to the community (her parents went to school in Dunsmuir and Weed), she said she saw the AD position as a role she could fulfill.

The mother of 9 year old Jackson and 7 year old Tyler, Goodrich-Jones said, “I love high school students,” and she appreciates how students of this era are “less cliquish and more accepting of individuality and each other.”

She said she also appreciates Nesheim’s willingness to help her in the transition.

Financially, Nesheim said Mount Shasta High School’s sports programs benefit from the support of Siskiyou Union High School District. He said the school faced some financial tightening during “the great recession,” but “our district continued to provide transportation for funded sports. (Superintendent) Mike Matheson is a great believer in that. From what I’ve seen elsewhere, less than 50 percent of the schools have that kind of support.”

Nesheim said he hopes the MSHS athletic program is in as good a shape as when he took it over from Joe Blevins.

He said he now wants to get back to putting more of his energy into teaching and coaching.

One of his successes as AD was getting the Bears back into the Shasta Cascade League for football, but it was a puzzle that took several years to solve.

Finally, during the last realignment process, Mount Shasta was supported in its effort to move from the Sacramento Valley League back into the SCL beginning this coming fall season.

“We needed to be where we had a chance,” he said. “It took several rounds of realignments processes, which happen every two years. I had to learn that you need to build a strong case on paper in advance.”

It was a team approach that finally paid off, Nesheim said. He was assisted in making the case for the Bears’ move by the football staff, principal Jennifer McKinnon, Matheson, and district trustee Gregg Gunkel.

Their case was so strong that “there was no argument” from realignment committee members, Nesheim said. “Not everyone was happy with their situations, but no one seemed unhappy with us.”