After University of San Diego’s season opening 83-66 win against Weber State, Torero head coach Sam Scholl made his way around Jenny Craig Pavilion shaking hands and hugging friends, family, school officials, former players, and just about anybody that was nearby.
Then the real celebration started.
When Coach Scholl entered the Torero locker room, the entire USD team started shouting, jumping around and dousing their coach with water to celebrate Scholl’s first career win as head coach.
The jubilation and commotion could be heard throughout the arena, when coach Scholl emerged his shirt was soaking wet, and he had a memory that will stay with him forever.
“I had a nice little celebration in the locker room, it was one of those things you’ll always remember - your first win,” Scholl said. “And I got doused with water. Fortunately, I got my jacket off, so I saved that.”
After playing his college ball at USD, Scholl spent the next 18 years as an assistant coach, 10 of which came on the Torero bench. To get his first win in a gym that has helped shape his life was a big moment for the first-year head coach.
“It’s just a really special place to me, having been a graduate here and played here and coached here, it made it really, really sweet that our first win was here.”
Near the end of last season, coach Lamont Smith resigned after being charged with domestic violence. The charges were later dropped.
At the time, USD Basketball was a program in turmoil with an uncertain future. Now, the program appears to be in a more stable position, with Scholl being promoted to head coach, a talented senior-laden roster and the euphoria of a season opening win.
When asked about the key to getting through the team’s last season, Scholl said, “I think it’s just having high, high character guys, young men in our program that are about the right things, they’re about each other’s success, they are enjoying each other, it’s really about them.”
Scholl will put his perfect record on the line Friday as USD plays at UC Davis.