KOEHLER LEADS CAT PROGRAM

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By KEVIN SAULS

The Sonora High School varsity girls' basketball team has its third coach in three years in Steve Koehler, who comes to the Wildcats from across the Stanislaus River at Bret Harte High.

Koehler, 49, follows Charmon Logan, who led the program for one year and posted a record of 15-10 that included Sonora's fourth straight second-place finish in the Valley Oak League and its 19th straight appearance in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Logan became the head coach after Gary Smith stepped down just before last season following a 24-year, two-stint tenure that saw the Wildcats win nearly 500 games while capturing 14 VOL titles and two section championships. Logan had assisted Smith for a decade or more, and also coached the freshman team for one year.

Koehler is accustomed to working in a successful program. He became Bret Harte's head coach in 2000 with the Bullfrogs working on a streak of nine straight Mother Lode League championships. Koehler made it 10 in a row and posted a two-year record of 50-13 that included a second-place section finish behind eventual state champion St. Mary's of Stockton and a Northern California playoff berth in 2001.

He stepped down after the 2001-02 season to take a break after 20 straight years of coaching at Bret Harte in the football, girls' and boys' basketball and baseball programs. It didn't take him long to figure out that he wanted back in.

"I missed coaching ... that's what I wanted to keep doing," Koehler said. "I was antsy. I don't sit well. I'm excited to be back."

Koehler has begun Sonora's weekly summer practice schedule, and plans on taking the Wildcats to some tournaments and team-building camps before school starts up again in August.

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