Steve Ames takes over Truckee basketball |

Steve Ames takes over Truckee basketball

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunSteve Ames stands outside his Truckee business, Top Dog Espresso, on Thursday. Ames is the new Truckee High varsity basketball coach.

Steve Ames has shown he can lead a football team to victory. Next winter, he’ll try to do the same as head coach of the Truckee High varsity basketball team.

“He’s had tremendous success,” Bob Shaffer, Truckee’s athletic director and head varsity football coach, said of Ames, who has headed the Wolverines’ junior varsity football squad the past three years.

“That’s kind of what opened our eyes to him being head coach.”

Ames, 47, was selected by a five-member panel and was one of five candidates applying for the position, Shaffer said. He coached Truckee’s varsity football team in 1985 and 1986 and started the school’s freshman program seven years ago. The seasoned coach has also had a couple stints leading youth basketball programs.

“He has great enthusiasm for the game, he brings a strong coaching background and he has the time and availability to do it,” Shaffer said.

“He’s competitive, so I think he’s going to do a good job here.”

Ames is replacing Keith Crawford, who held the head coaching position for two years before announcing in February that he would not return for a third season.

The Wolverines finished with a 6-10 league record in 2006-’07 and have not made a playoff appearance in at least five years, said Ames, who hopes to reverse that trend while bringing out more players and drawing larger home crowds.

“It’s a shame that you go to a high school basketball game in Truckee and the gym is empty,” he said. … “Truckee has always been a football school, and I don’t think they’ve gotten the best athletes out there (playing basketball). I hope to bring them out there.”

One such athlete whom Ames expects to play for him is junior (soon-to-be-senior) Paris Tenorio, a standout linebacker on the football team and son of varsity girls basketball coach Angelo Tenorio. Ames said other athletes who may play basketball ” and did not this past season ” include juniors Kevin Wood, Tucker Ballister and Trevor Allen, all of whom played football in 2006.

While Ames starred in football, basketball and track at North Tahoe High in the late ’70s ” “My favorite sport was whatever sport was in season,” he said ” football was his forte.

A two-way player, he received a full-ride scholarship to Oregon State, where he played fullback his freshman season before transferring to Santa Rosa to play linebacker his sophomore year and then University of Nevada, Reno his final two years.

“I’m hoping I can bring defensive skills from football onto the court,” Ames said, adding that he plans to play a tougher brand of basketball than Truckee teams of recent past ” similar to his aggressive style as a 6-foot-2-inch center back in his heyday. “I think that’s the only way we can match up with these other kids (from larger schools).

“If we do the little things, big things will happen to us.”

Although he admittedly has a stronger background in football, Ames said he already has attended basketball coaching clinics, and plans to attend more while soaking up as much info as he can before the season.

At one recent clinic in Davis, Calif., Ames met Nevada Wolf Pack basketball coach Mark Fox, who offered this advice:

“Keep it simple.”

That’s just what Ames plans to do.

“I think you’ve got to go back to what you know and what makes sense to you,” he said. “I think we need to be more aggressive, and we’re gonna run like crazy.”

Ames handed over his JV football head coaching duties to Tom Mohun, the team’s offensive coordinator the past three years. Ames said he will remain on the coaching staff, working with defensive ends and running backs.

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