Nesheim new Mount Shasta athletic director

Reggie Stiteler
California Coaches Association President Anne Rosser presents Mount Shasta High School’s Steve Nesheim with a plaque honoring him as the state’s girls cross country Coach of the Year, Saturday, June 14 in Sacramento.

With a 2008 state coaching award in tow and his promotion at Mount Shasta High School now official, Steve Nesheim has kicked off his summer on a high note.

The architect of the recently rebuilt Bears cross country team was honored as the state of California’s top girls coach in the sport Saturday evening at the 51st annual California Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Coach of the Year Banquet in Sacramento.

Three days earlier at the monthly Siskiyou Union High School board meeting, Nesheim was officially named Mount Shasta’s new athletic director.

“It was a pleasant and humbling experience,” Nesheim said on receiving the state coaching recognition and being one of the 30-40 California coaches of all sports honored at the event. “I am very proud to be a part of it. I never expected to represent the whole state.”

For the past three fall seasons, it was Mount Shasta’s girls cross country team representing the whole state, as the squad made history by winning the Division V State Championship for an unprecedented third consecutive year by a Northern Section high school.

Speaking of the Northern Section, both the Bears boys and girls cross country squads won the section title for the fifth consecutive year in 2007, as they focused on self-improvement and personal records.

“It was a beginning level program six years ago [when he took over the program],” Nesheim said. “Now its a state level program.”

Saturday evening the coach’s good friend, Chris Walsh of Campolindo High School in Moraga, Calif., ad libbed a brief biography of coach Nesheim to the crowd of 250 in attendance.

“I got a few good lines,” Nesheim said.

Returning to Mount Shasta, the coach is excited to begin a new chapter in his career.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Nesheim said of taking over the athletic director reigns at the high school. “No one talked me into this. I’ve been looking forward to the right opportunity for a while.”

Nesheim, who has turned down offers for the same position at other high schools, picks up where now retired athletic director Joe Blevins left off.

“Joe gave me endless tips,” Nesheim said. “I had a list of questions for him and there wasn’t a question I asked that he couldn’t answer.”

Blevins, who had a part in the hiring process, is happy with Nesheim’s selection.

“He’s very well organized and has good notoriety in the (Northern) Section,” Blevins said. “There is a lot he has had to do, including fundraisers, to make his programs run.”

Nesheim does not plan to change much as the top Bear in athletics, but he uses a campground analogy when speaking of the kind of mark he intends to leave.

“I want to leave the situation better than I found it,” he says. “It has been in good hands, I just will tweak it a little in my own direction.”

Nesheim “absolutely” will continue to head the cross country and track programs at Mount Shasta as well as his prep periods, but the new A.D. is keenly aware of what is evolving inside the 800 meter loop among other Bear athletic programs.

“I’m really impressed with the new football staff – Mike Daivs, Mike Reed and Mike Dellabona,” he said. “They are all local and understand that it takes hard work and fundraising to get results.”

“As groups come along you find different ways to help them,” Nesheim said. “As a small school it’s important to have all sixteen sports represented.”

Nesheim has coached the Bears cross country team for the past six years and the sport for 23 years, overall. He has coached Mount Shasta’s track and field squad for the past eight seasons, with the past two as head coach, as part of  25 years coaching that sport.

“I started very young,” he says.

Nesheim began coaching at his alma mater, College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, Calif., where he remained for 13 years. After moving to Siskiyou County some years later, he spent a year and a half coaching track and cross country at Dunsmuir High School.

When substitute teaching at Mount Shasta he met Bears track and field coach Dave Allen and the rest is history.

Nesheim attributes much of his success to the support given to him by his wife Heidi and counts sharing a state cross country championship with his daughter Heather as a career highlight.

“One of my greatest pleasures is watching my own children [Heather and Mitchell] competing,” Nesheim said.

“One of the things I’ve learned is (many athletes) want to do for others what I’ve done for them,” he said. “Compassion and patience are the greatest gifts I have been given to manage high school athletes and sports.”

So far, so good. And if Nesheim can parlay the success he has built and maintained in cross country to the Bears athletic program as a whole, Mount Shasta can look forward to many more years of joy and success.