By Bill Tamburrino
St. Katherine College in Encinitas has announced hiring Ramona High School varsity basketball coach David Reichner as the school’s associate head coach. Reichner will assist head coach Scott Mitchell in the Firebirds’ inaugural season and home games will be played at Ramona High.
The Firebirds will play in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference in the National Association of Interscholastic Athletics. Member schools of the PCAC are Multnomah University, Portland Bible College, West Coast Baptist College, Walla Walla University, Bethesda College and St. Katherine College.
“St. Katherine will be playing our Saturday home games in the Ramona High gym,” said Mitchell. “We hope to establish a fan base. We have had several open gyms in Ramona and I like the community. Ramona needs to have a team to support at the next level of competition. We hope to partner with businesses in Ramona. We are a nonprofit organization, so donations are tax deductible.”
The Firebirds will play 27 games in the 2013-14 season and plan to play a wide open brand of basketball.
“We will build a program that will compete right away and schedule some D1 schools in the next few years,” said Mitchell.
The Firebirds offer basketball scholarships.
St. Katherine College and the Ramona Unified School District previously talked about building a St. Katherine campus in Ramona and sharing facilities, but that did not come to fruition.
St. Katherine is considering adding an agricultural education program in Ramona and that could give the college university status, according to Reichner.
“It is very exciting,” he said. “St. Katherine is a four-year college and it is very inexpensive. At the present time I am a consultant and am helping recruit for men’s and women’s soccer.
“Coach Mitchell is planning on letting groups sell tickets and giving half of the profits from the sales to the groups. He wants to have a snack bar, and the profits will go to RHS. He wants a college atmosphere at the games and we feel that Ramona can provide that atmosphere. When I got here, one of my main goals was to change the culture regarding basketball in Ramona. I wanted to bring in college players for our open gyms, and now we are doing just that four nights a week. We will also have some college summer league games and tournaments in Ramona.”
Reichner has not indicated his associate coach job will interfere with his job as head coach for RHS. Reichner will be conducting two basketball camps in conjunction with St. Katherine College on June 17 and June 24 in the RHS gym.