During the Columbia School Board meeting last Wednesday night, Mark Sandstrom was named Columbia High School boys basketball head coach and Jamey Bridges was named CHS boys soccer head coach.
Sandstrom spent two years away from the varsity sidelines after compiling a record of 252-173 in 14 seasons as Columbia’s boys hoops coach, winning six regional titles.
Bridges, who is also the girls soccer head coach at CHS, has served as an assistant coach for the boys program the past eight years.Sandstrom replaces Brooks Demijan, who resigned after going 23-22 in two seasons as CHS head boys hoops coach.
“The past two years away from the varsity sidelines have been very beneficial,” Sandstrom said. “I was able to give my daughter Claire and her class of girls the opportunity to play basketball across the river. I was also grateful for the opportunity to coach the seventh and eighth grade boys at Columbia Middle School. I also remained very active with the high school game by helping some area teams with scouting, installing offense and learning new things at their practices. All of these experiences were the change of pace I needed and gave me some new perspectives on the game I have been involved in for my whole life.”
Sandstrom added that next year’s CHS hoops squad reminds him of when he first came to the school in 2005.“There is a really hungry group of players, but no real consistent varsity experience returning,” he assessed.
“There will be a completely new defensive system installed, and the program has some very talented younger players. It’s pretty much a clean slate for everyone involved. I’m looking forward to a summer full of preparation, hard work, and excitement.”
Sandstrom, who has a total of 336 career wins, classifies himself as an old-school basketball coach.“I want our teams to be tough physically and mentally, well-prepared and play the game the right way,” he said. “I have always believed if you respect the game, the game takes care of you.”
Bridges led the CHS girls soccer squad to a state title in 2019 and was an assistant on the boys squad that won a state title in 2014 under Jason Mathenia.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the program and to be a part of the staff with Jason and (assistant coach) Tony Segobiano the last eight years,” Bridges said. “I look forward to continuing the great tradition of Columbia soccer.”Mathenia compiled a record of record of 150-22-16 at CHS since 2013.