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Nick Sauer named head basketball coach at Righetti
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Nick Sauer named head basketball coach at Righetti

Nick Sauer will be coaching basketball at the same place he played his high school basketball.

Sauer was hired earlier this week as Righetti’s new boys varsity basketball coach. He will take over for veteran coach Kevin Barbarick who stepped down after his second stint as the Warriors’ coach.

Barbarick is Righetti’s athletic director.

Sauer will be a full time special education teacher at Righetti. He played varsity ball at power forward for two years for Barbarick before graduating in 2010.

“We went pretty far in the playoffs that year,” said Sauer.

“I went through the freshman and JV programs, then I played varsity,” said Nick Sauer whose younger brother, Matt, was a second-round New York Yankees draft pick in 2017.

Matt Sauer is recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Besides playing four years of basketball at Righetti, Nick Sauer played four years of baseball, including the last two at the varsity level in both sports.

Nick Sauer will be stepping into the uptempo Righetti style he was familiar with as a player with a firm grounding as a coach.

“I’ve coached with the Righetti JV basketball program the last five years,” Nick said.

It may be awhile before he can meet with his new players in person. The Santa Maria Joint Unified School District delayed bringing athletes back on campus for conditioning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sauer said the Righetti teaching job will be his first with a Clear teaching credential.

“I got my credential through Brandman University,” he said. “I taught special education at Lompoc Valley Middle School the last two years with an emergency credential.”

If Righetti opens the 2020-21 school year with strictly online learning, Sauer said that won’t faze him as a teacher.

“I taught an online program at Lompoc Valley Middle School, so I’m familiar with it,” he said.

Schools nationwide went online last March in the midst of the pandemic.

Sauer has been drawn toward working with students with special needs for awhile.

“My mom runs a day care out of her house and a kid who was diagnosed with autism, and has cerebral palsy, was in (the day care program),” said Nick Sauer.

“I was really involved with Special Olympics when I was at Tabor College, and that was when I really got into (working with students with special needs).

Sauer played basketball for two years at Cuesta College before moving on to NAIA Tabor College.

Tabor College is a private, Mennonite liberal arts school in Hillsboro, Kansas.

“I played for two years there and coached for one,” said Sauer. “I got nearly a full basketball scholarship to go there.”

Sauer graduated from Tabor with an undergraduate degree in physical education and health.

He said he was drawn to Tabor because “I wanted to experience something different.”

His days at Tabor certainly gave Sauer that benefit.

“I lived through a whole season of snow. I’m pretty easy going, so it really wasn’t much of an adjustment for me.”

His next coaching experience, with the Righetti boys basketball varsity, will be with a program Sauer is thoroughly familiar with.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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