Lance Eber knew he wasn't a lock.
An assistant soccer coach at Golden Valley High School the last four years, Eber knew replacing his mentor and head coach Lee Shaw wasn't a sure thing.
When Shaw announced he was leaving the Cougars to become a school administrator in Modesto, Eber was fully aware that Merced Union High School District employees would get first crack at the job.
Still, Eber a crime analyst with the Merced Police Deparment applied ... and waited. His patience paid off.
He was named head coach of the boys and girls teams. He'll begin this fall.
"I'm really excited," Eber said. "Lee has kind of been mentoring me for this the last four years. I feel like we've built up two very solid programs and I'm anxious to see where I can lead them."
Eber said he's been coaching at the club level the last 16 years. Shaw brought him into the Golden Valley fold as an assistant when his daughter, Alex Eber, was a freshman there four years ago.
Shaw asked him to assist the boys team the next year.
"I've known Lance since I was a coordinator for Atwater Youth Soccer and he was one for Merced," Shaw said. "I was very pleased to bring him onto the staff. I know he's going to keep the high standards that we've set for our players and I know the kids really wanted him, so they'll be happy."
Eber said he hopes to run a possession style of offense modeled after Spain's national team.
"Lee and I have a lot of similar approaches, but every head coach is going to do some things differently," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what works for me."