The Vernon Tigers have shuffled the coaching deck as they head into the 2011 season of Okanagan X-treme Senior C Men’s Lacrosse League.
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Lawrie Skolrood will take over from James Hurst as head coach. He will be joined by assistant Steve Latimer, who is making the transition from player to coach after a stellar career with the Tigers (formerly Royals).
Taking over as president will be long-time local businessman Roy Clissold, owner of Aaron’s Furniture.
“I’m very lucky to have Steve Latimer with all his experience, and certainly the support we’re getting from the juniors (Tigers) this year is welcomed as well,” said Skolrood.
“We’re hoping to take on this year in a bit of a rebuilding bang, however, I’m looking forward to a real good product on the floor.”
Latimer said it was a tough decision to call it a day, but looks forward to the new challenge of guiding the Tigers from behind the bench. He laughed when the media described his transition from player to coach as “graceful.”
“Graceful? Well OK, we’ll go with that,” he grinned.
“The last couple of years, the body isn’t holding up the way it used to, and to still be involved in the game and going behind the bench and help out and maybe teach some of the younger guys coming up, and help some of the older guys improve…I’m pretty excited about it.”
Also returning for another season is last year’s OKXLL scoring champion Shane Sargent, an Ontario native who posted 35 points in 11 games, including 22 goals.
Sargent, a six-year veteran of the Ontario Junior A league, is hoping the Tigers can avoid a repeat of last year’s slow start.
“It didn’t go as well as I was hoping it would. The team had a little bit of trouble, we got off to a slow start, but hopefully this year we do a little better and get rolling off the start.”
The Tigers will begin exhibition action at the annual Shamrocks Ice Breaker tourney, April 8 and 9 in Armstrong.