Biermann leaving as Laguna AD; Torres steps down as soccer coach

The athletic department at Laguna Blanca School is going through some changes.

Athletic director Mike Biermann confirmed to Presidio Sports that he will be stepping down at the end of the school year and taking over the AD position at Besant Hill, a boarding school in Ojai. Biermann resides in Ojai.

Also, boys soccer coach Daniel Torres told Presidio Sports he has resigned. His resignation comes a week after guiding the Owls to their first CIF final. They lost 2-1 against Condor League rival Dunn.

In addition to those changes, the school is looking for a girls volleyball coach. Jim Alzina stepped down from the position in January for family and business reasons. Alzina took Laguna Blanca to the CIF final in 2013.

Biermann said he was contacted by Besant Hill about the AD position.

“I wasn’t looking to leave Laguna,” Biermann told Presidio Sports. “I was approached by Besant Hill, saying they liked what I had done at Laguna and if I would be interested in interviewing. Kevin Henschel, their current AD, is moving to the Development Office at the school. After interviewing, everything just fell into place. They made a nice offer and gave me time to consider it. My administration at Laguna was very supportive. It was a tough decision to leave a place you love, but I feel I made the right decision.”

Biermann said he plans to name a girls volleyball coach when Laguna Blanca students return from spring break on April 6. The school has been interviewing candidates.

Torres said he was leaving for personal reasons. He coached at Laguna Blanca for two years, starting as an assistant before taking over the program at mid-season last year.

This season, Torres coached the Owls to their first league title (shared with Dunn) in more than 30 years, a CIF Division 7 runner-up finish and a 14-2-3 record.

“I wasn’t going to come back for this season, but Mike Biermann put his hands in the fire for me,” said Torres, who in 2011 took Carpinteria to a CIF final. “Laguna wanted to go a different direction and hire a new coach. Mike did all he could to keep me there. I’m very thankful for that. He knew how much I cared for the boys.”

Torres said he took it as a personal challenge “to get the best out of this group.

“From day one, we set goals for this season. Many didn’t believe me when I told them we were the best team in Division 7. As the season went on, they started believing in one another and it culminated with a CIF Final appearance.”

He added: “They worked very hard this season, they deserve all the credit. I’m very glad they gave me an opportunity to be their coach but, more importantly, to be their mentor. I told them before the final that when they look back at this season, they remember not what they learned about the game of soccer, but rather the life lessons the game taught them. They’re all great young men. If I made a difference in their life, I did my job. “

Torres gave thanks to girls soccer assistant coach J.R. Eskilson for helping him at Laguna. “He’s been such a great friend. I hope to coach with him one day and learn from him,” he said.

As for his future, Torres hopes to get back into coaching.

“I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives, like so many coaches have done for me, especially Todd Heil, my mentor,” he said. “He’s the one that got me into coaching. I’ve looked up to him since the day I met him 15 years ago.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Story has been revised with comments from Mike Biermann.