A new day dawns for Hesperia High School athletics this August, but it's one with strong ties to the school's traditional strengths, according to the Scorpions' new athletic director.

When Oak Hills High School opens in August 2009, the new high school will have a number of coaches and teachers familiar to the Hesperia High community -- along with a portion of the Hesperia High student body, as Oak Hills' opening is intended to help relieve overcrowding on the campus of the HUSD's oldest high school.

But the departure of coaches and players doesn't mean an end to Hesperia High's athletic legacy, says new athletic director Jeff Hallett (currently the school's vice principal in charge of discipline).

"It presents challenges, because you're dealing with all these coaches who are incredibly competitive," he said Thursday. "We've had an incredibly successful year, both in the classroom and on the field."

"One thing I'd like to do is get [the football team] more involved in the community," said new football coach Jeremy Topete. Topete, who has held various coaching positions at San Dimas High School, Chaffee College and Hesperia High, envisions summer programs with students from district middle schools and having their participation in half-time events at Scorpion football games, "Reaching out to those future Scorpions."

Fans will have to wait until the 2010-2011 school year to see Topete's Scorpions square off against former Hesperia High head coach Robert Kitsner's Oak Hills Bulldogs on the football field: Oak Hills won't be competing against other Mojave River League football teams their first year out.

But in other sports, it's likely that Hesperia and Oak Hills -- which replaces Rim of the World in the MRL -- will be squaring off, and that both sides will want to make a big showing of it.

"We plan to have success at all levels, but it's going to be done the right way," Hallett said. "The best possible person available will be working with our kids."

Hesperia High School's head coaching line-up is as follows:

Football: Jeremy Topete
Baseball: Chris Salas
Boys Basketball: Sergio Lugo
Volleyball: Cindy McGraa
Tennis: Jim Taper
Softball: Pat Brooksher
Track: Bethany Trojanowski
Girls Soccer: Erica Chisholm
Golf: Ken Jones
Cross Country: Susan Lucas
Wrestling: Pat Brooksher and Bryan Sloat

Among that list are familiar faces in the head-coaching roles for baseball, boys basketball, tennis and cross country.

"Bottom line, there's a lot of continuity," said Hallett. "The two or three that are new are phenomenal."

(At press time, the new girls basketball and boys soccer coaches had been selected, but could not be announced prior to the Hesperia Unified School District school board approving the personnel changes, which the board is expected to do at their June 8 meeting.)

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