Both Greg Euker and Ben Beznoska are two coaches who feel they are ready to lead their own program. Euker and Beznoska will get that opportunity this year at Golden Valley High.
Euker, 30, takes over the Cougars baseball program with Scott Solis stepping down after 14 seasons. Beznoska, 37, becomes Golden Valley’s third girls basketball coach in three seasons after Valerie Moore resigned after one season.
Both new coaches are ready for the challenge.
“I’ve been blessed,” said Euker, who graduated from Merced High in 2005. “I’ve had some great coaches in my life, ever since playing in high school. I’ve wanted to give back to the kids. I’ve learned so much from my coaches. It’s been a goal of mine to become a high school coach one day.”
Still it was strange coming to Golden Valley almost 3 years ago after being crosstown rivals with the Cougars throughout high school.
“It was a little bittersweet walking into the gym the first time and seeing that 2005 (Central California Conference) championship hanging in there,” Euker said. “I was a little bitter about that. But I came here to teach. That’s the biggest reason I’m here. I am an English teacher. The kids at Golden Valley have been tremendous. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
Euker has coached at Atwater High and Golden Valley as an assistant and in the lower levels. He’s also helped coach basketball and football since coming over to Golden Valley.
He’s very familiar with the players returning since he coached almost all of them at the junior varsity level.
“The biggest thing for me is competing,” Euker said. “My senior year, Golden Valley beat us for the league championship. It was always a dogfight when we played them. I’ve always had a competitive nature. I’m fortunate to take over a program that has a lot of kids who are willing to compete.
“Toward the end of last year (Golden Valley) might have been the hottest team in the league. We need to build off of how they finished the year.”
Euker says playing for the coaches at Merced High and later at Merced College have shaped him into the coach he is today. He also comes from a family that was always involved with sports. His sister Marcia-Marie Rosson played sports in high school and was later a high school softball coach and volleyball coach at Atwater and Merced. His mother Jennifer was also a volleyball and softball coach before becoming a high school administrator.
“I think we were always involved with sports because sports are fun,” Euker said. “We played all the games and still do to this day. Part of the fun of sports is the winning experience at the end.”
Beznoska was also a pitching coach for the Golden Valley baseball program last year. He played basketball for Brett Tate at Atwater High. He began coaching under John Kane at Atwater and later was an assistant coach for Shane Gentry at Buhach Colony.
“I’ve had some great coaching mentors,” Beznoska said. “Shane Gentry let me do a lot of stuff and he guided me a lot. I had a great mentor when I first started with John Kane.”
Beznoska says his focus will be on defense.
“I’d love to see us be the type of team that continually puts pressure on other teams defensively and offensively. We’ll be a very defensive-minded team. That’s the way we were at Buhach Colony.”
Beznoska’s hire means Golden Valley, Merced (Art Solis) and El Capitan (Tyler Trammell) will all have new girls basketball coaches this season.
Beznoska says he’s familiar with some of the girls that played while he was coaching at Buhach Colony, which includes fourth-year starter Delia Moore.
“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to get everyone on the same page and get us playing together,” Beznoska said. “Hopefully we can win and get back to when (Matt) Thissen had all those undefeated seasons.”