Bedgood fits the bill as new Valencia basketball coach

Former Saugus High coach Bill Bedgood has been named head coach for Valencia. Dan Watson/The Signal

The task fit the bill of cruel and unusual.

The morning after his Saugus High boys basketball team lost a six-point game at Valencia High in early February, Bill Bedgood retraced the path to Valencia’s parking lot and shuffled onto campus for his honors algebra, long-term subbing gig.

“Is this hard for you?” Bedgood remembers former Valencia coach and teacher Greg Hayes kidding.

“Very hard,” Bedgood replied. “I don’t think a coach has ever lost a game of that magnitude and had to be at that campus the next morning.”

Now, Bedgood will be at Valencia full-time, his fortunes rising and falling with the Vikings’.

Bedgood told The Signal on Wednesday that he’d been hired to replace Chad Phillips, who stepped down over the offseason to take a job in Georgia.

MORE: Saugus boys basketball hires new coach

“I believe Coach Bedgood is up for the challenge and will do a fantastic job,” Phillips said via text message. “As a competitor, his teams were well-prepared and always played hard.”

At Valencia, Bedgood, 42, inherits a program at the top. The Vikings’ varsity team has won two Foothill League titles in the last three years, and their freshman and junior varsity teams each won league last year.

Bedgood walked into a different situation at Saugus three years ago. The varsity was coming off an 0-10 run in the Foothill League, capped by a four-point loss at Golden Valley.

The Centurions steadily improved in 2014-15 and 2015-16 before rising to a 6-4 finish in league last season and reaching the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A playoffs.

It was Saugus’ first winning season in five years. It was also the first year during his coaching tenure at Saugus that Bedgood wasn’t teaching full-time at Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.

Instead, he subbed in the Hart district, taking a long-term position at Valencia in January.

Over the summer, Valencia hired him full-time to teach math. Then news broke that Phillips would be leaving for a teaching position in Georgia, and while it wasn’t a lock that Bedgood would take over, it was hardly a reach to suggest it.

Bedgood interviewed on Aug. 3, he said, and learned the following day that the job was his.

“I felt good about it,” Bedgood said. “It was an interesting situation. Usually, in those situations, you’re meeting people for the first time. I’d gotten to know the administration a little bit. It was a different interview. I felt like they were able to go more in-depth with me because they didn’t have to familiarize themselves with who I was.”

Instead, conversation centered on Bedgood’s coaching philosophy, specific in-game strategies and the highs and lows of his career, he said.

One low might have been that crushing February loss to Valencia and having to show up the next day. But Bedgood said Wednesday he appreciated the respect Viking basketball players treated him with when they saw him on campus up through the end of the school year.

Now, he’ll be with them daily. He’s excited to work with a group that should return all but one starter from last season’s co-Foothill League championship team.

“You don’t have to look far at Valencia: You see what the football team has done,” he said.  “I’d like to see the basketball program on that level – year in and year out as the top team and making great playoff runs.”

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