The End of an Era


(Courtesy of Dustin Nygaard)

By Griffin Gustafson

After a tough year and shortened soccer season due to the coronavirus, high hopes are set for the return of the regular seasons and the teams to dominate once again. But as of October, both coaches have decided to step down, leaving the coaching spots vacant for the time being, making it difficult to overcome this major obstacle as the season approaches.

For many years, Tamalpais High School has been well known by the community, not only for their great academic offerings, but their sports as well. Specifically, the soccer programs are noted to be excellent, both the girls’ and boys’ varsity teams. Over the past decade, Shane Kennedy and Dustin Nygaard have led their teams to multiple league, and North Coast Section titles, and the varsity girls winning back-to-back triple crowns in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. 

Dustin Nygaard, eight-year varsity coach of the boys’ team, looked back on his greatest moments as manager, and shared his advice for the team with the season right around the corner: “Without a doubt my favorite part of the job is the relationships I make with the players,” Nygaard said. “Before practice, before games, the off season, weight room, getting to know my players is the best. The competition is great, too, but when my players stop into my office for a chat or just to hang out, there’s nothing better.” 

In a meeting with his players after stepping down from the coaching role, Nygaard stated, “No matter who becomes coach, whether they are great or not, the leaders need to step up and really show what it means to be a part of Tam soccer. The coach can come and implement whatever they would like, but the core values of the team stays, and that’s what makes being a part of this program so special.” Nygaard plans on being in the Tam community for many years to come, and a return to the coaching spot is almost certain, but for now, he is choosing to spend more time with his family and young kids.

Benjamin Southern is a four-year varsity player and captain of the boys’ team. Southern also plays on a high-level team located in Silicon Valley. He believes that keeping the boys connected and hard work is important to maintaining the team’s high chemistry and success after last year’s winning season. Southern was quick to express his love for Nygaard and how much he will miss him during his last year on the squad.

“Nygaard gave me so much confidence in the past two years of being my coach,” Southern said. “The vibe and atmosphere he brought to the team was truly special. Although he wanted to win, he valued his players’ well-being before anything. That really meant a lot to me.” 

As for the future coach, Southern said, “I want someone who takes the role seriously. We want to win, and the only way that can happen is if we have a coach who is committed to the team.” 

The coaching spots have passed through the seven-day district stage, meaning the positions were turned down by all the teachers in the Tam district and are now open to the public. With the jobs up for grabs, who will step up and fill the big shoes of coach Nygaard and Kennedy? Well, now we wait.