Even as the 2008-2009 school year enters its home stretch, the faculty and staff of the Hesperia Unified School District's newest high school begins to take shape.

Oak Hills High School Principal Larry Porras announced the school's coaches, music director and drama teacher on Thursday.

"I think the one common thread that runs through our new coaching staff is their love of kids and their tremendous enthusiasm and their experience, I think in that order," said Porras. "We had some strong candidates for the positions we had open and we were very pleased with the names we submitted to the district."

Many of the names will be familiar to members of the HUSD community, especially for fans of Hesperia High School sports:

* Bud Coleman, head baseball coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Dale Ford, head varsity cheer coach, currently with Sultana High School
* Joe Gomez, head girls basketball coach, currently with Sultana High School
* Darren Goodman, athletic director and head girls soccer coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Paula Hunter, drama teacher, currently with Hesperia High School
* Robert Kitsner, head football coach, currently with Hesperia High school
* Omar Lopez, head volleyball coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Robert Metzger, head boys track and field coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Kelli Munoz, head softball coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Shane Sherrodd, director of instrumental music, currently with Hesperia High School
* David Stidham, head wrestling coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Jason Story, assistant baseball coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Shawn Yancey, head boys soccer coach, currently with Hesperia High School
* Nick Yglesias, head boys cross country, currently with Hesperia High School

(Not all of the positions are official as of press-time: The school board was to have voted to approve the appointments at their April 20 meeting, which has been postponed twice as of April 24.)

A number of the coaches come to Oak Hills High School after recent winning seasons at their current schools: Kitsner was just named the 2008 San Bernardino Coach of the Year after coaching the Scorpions to a perfect regular season and the school's first league championship. While some of the Scorpion underclassmen will be coming with him to Oak Hills, as the Hesperia High School boundaries are redrawn with the opening of the new school, Porras doesn't expect a comparable season at Oak Hills High School in the program's first year.

"I know from experience ... that to build a successful football program, it takes time. If you're talking about Robert Kitsner, you're talking about a person who took over a program that was basically dead. Little by little, they got better. Year by year, they had more success and had more kids coming out," said Porras, who was formerly the principal at Hesperia High. "We'll be independent and everybody we play will have seniors for the most part."

And a third comprehensive high school opening in Hesperia also has the potential to shake local football up in another way: Since 1996, Sultana and Hesperia High Schools have played the annual Key Game for the bragging rights as city champions. A third high school makes things more complicated.

"What I would like to see, if it were up to me," said Porras, "Is that if one school beats both schools, they have a banner they can put up that says city champions, and they keep that up until a school beats the other two."

But no decision about the future of the Key Game has been made, he said.

Members of the Oak Hills High School Class of 2013 will get their first glimpse of the coaching staff, along with team uniforms, cheerleaders and the school mascot at a pep rally to be held Tuesday at Cedar Middle School. Many of the eighth graders at Cedar will be among Oak Hills' first freshman class when the school opens in August.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.