Some people go through life without landing their dream job.
Zac Tiedeman, a former standout basketball player for Montgomery High, got his wish answered by the time he turned 27.
Tiedeman always longed to coach the varsity team at his alma mater, and his dream has come true. He’s taking over the reins from his former coach Tom Fitchie, who retired after last season following 31 years as the head man.
Tiedeman had been assisting Fitchie the past four years. He served two years as junior varsity coach and then helped with the varsity in 2014 and ’15.
Tiedeman was a member of the 2003 and 2006 Montgomery teams that captured North Coast Section Division 2 titles. In ’06, his senior year, he was named All-Empire Large School Player of the Year.
After graduating from high school, Tiedeman went on to compete at the college level. As a freshman, he played for Santa Rosa JC. That was followed by a year at Santa Clara and then two at Humboldt State.
He journeyed overseas and played one year in Denmark and Holland.
The Tiedeman name is well known in Empire sports circles. His father, Steve, was a star and teammate of Fitchie’s at Montgomery and Sonoma State while his older brother, Tyler, excelled during his career as a Viking. Tyler played at Boise State and then turned pro and played in Europe.
Zac Tiedeman was one of three applicants for the Montgomery job and was selected by a committee that included athletic director Dean Haskins.
“Zac has the ability to connect with today’s student-athlete,” Haskins said, “You can’t help but be impressed by his demeanor, plus he’s one of the most loyal people I’ve met.”
Tiedeman said his coaching philosophy will mirror Fitchie’s.
“The main thing I’ll be stressing is fundamentals and making sure players put the team first.
“I definitely want our players to play the game the right way.”
Tiedeman’s first season figures to be spent rebuilding. Montgomery is coming off a 21-12 campaign, having tied Cardinal Newman for the North Bay League title, but the Vikings graduated 10 seniors from last year’s team.
Among the shoes that need to be filled are the starting five, including those of 6-foot-11 Erik Poulsen. Returning are four juniors from that team, including Joel Seitz and Lane Young.
Tiedeman is seven units short of obtaining a college degree and will finish up this fall at Sonoma State. His goal is to earn a teaching credential.
Fitchie believes Tiedeman will have an outstanding career.
“He’s going to do great,” his mentor said. “He’s got a super basketball IQ and it’s only going to get better with experience.”