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There’s a new sheriff

John HartBear River Bruins head football coach Scott Savoie jots down some notes at a meeting before practice Thursday. Savoie is starting his first year at the helm of the Bruins.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

The buzz around Bear River High School for the first half of the last school year was that long-time head football coach Terry Logue would hang up the whistle after the 2001 season.

Logue’s youngest son, Matt, was headed to the California State University – Sacramento on a football scholarship, and the rationale was the veteran of 15 seasons in the cardinal and gray would take time out to watch him play.

Scott Savoie, who had just finished his eighth season as the Bruins’ line coach, wasn’t buying it.



“Terry had ordered new uniforms. He was already talking about, ‘We’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that.” Even when he was sick in the hospital, he was talking about the upcoming season,” Savoie said.

“Everybody expected him to retire after Matt graduated, but I didn’t. I really thought he’d be around.”




Logue said he had every intention of coming back to J. David Ramsey Stadium for another go-round, but opportunity kicked his door in.

Sierra College of Rocklin offered him a job as an assistant coach in mid-winter and he took the plunge.

“It was not an easy decision by any means. I had a great relationship with the junior class and we were moving to a different league where we were going to play schools our size,” Logue said. “But Matt was graduating, and

it was a great opportunity.”

It was right about that time when he dialed Savoie’s seven digits.

“My jaw about hit the floor when he called me up (that) night and said,

‘Hey, I got something to tell you.’ I wanted him to stick around and coach my kids. But the opportunity came up and it was a good opportunity,” Savoie said.

The official party line was that the job was up for grabs, but everyone and their brother knew Savoie was the man.

“I try not to take anything for granted. And it’s not like somebody else couldn’t come in here and do a great job. But I was already here. I could have been Terry’s assistant for the next 20 years, but if he wasn’t going to be here, I wanted the job. There was no hesitation,” Savoie said.

To no one’s surprise, Savoie signed on to his first varsity head coaching job less than a month later.

A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND

Savoie was a three-sport letterman at Edgewood High School in the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina.

He wrestled and ran track, but it was all about the pigskin.

“I did the other sports to keep me in shape for football,” he said.

It worked.

The now defunct California State University – Los Angeles football program signed the 6-foot, 2-inch, 220-pound defensive lineman. He earned a starting position his freshman year, then the team folded.

While the team was through, Savoie wasn’t.

He was snapped up by California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

There he played on a pair of NAIA playoff squads, including the 1979 national semifinal team.

“Cal Lu was a great experience for me. We made a pretty good run at things down there,” he said. “And it’s kinda funny because a lot of the guys I played with down there are (coaching) all over the place right now. The offensive line coach at UCLA is a former teammate. So is the d-line coach at Texas Christian. We’ve got some guys in the pros. It’s almost like a Cal Lu coaching fraternity.” Savoie said.

SO LONG, SO-CAL

After college, Savoie coached the Westlake High School’s junior varsity before he was reunited with his former high school coach, Jack Fogerty, at Canyon Springs High School in the Riverside County town of Moreno Valley in 1987.

He was on the sidelines as a varsity assistant when the Cougars won the Southern Section title the next season, and were section runner up in 1989 and 1993.

Winning on the gridiron was nice, but the then father of two didn’t like vibe the school was beginning to give.

“I saw our school’s climate really change (for the worse). I just couldn’t see my kids going to school there,” he said. “Me and my wife were just looking for a higher quality of life for them.”

Then a chance encounter with former Nevada Union head football coach Randy Blankenship pointed Savoie toward Grass Valley.

“I was at a coaching clinic at Cal Berkeley and coach Fogerty was speaking on the Delaware Wing-T. Randy was there and he came up to me and gave me a hard time. He said, ‘Why are you guys up here, talking about the Wing-T’ I don’t want these guys to know anything about what we’re doing,” Savoie said. “I looked at him and said, ‘Nevada Union? Where’s that? Are you in Nevada someplace?’ He kinda planted the seed.”

Later that year, Savoie and family were headed to Oregon to visit a uncle when they decided to check out Grass Valley.

“I loved it; my wife loved it. We just never saw ourselves being able to live in a place like this until we retired. It just seemed to be a perfect fit for us,” he said.


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