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Prep notebook: GSL, IEL end grid deal

Rick Giampietri will miss the competition against 5A Inland Empire League football teams. But the Central Valley coach understands why the Greater Spokane League couldn’t open up a week of its 2010 schedule for nonleague games.

The GSL and IEL had combined in recent years for some entertaining games. But that ends this fall. With East Valley’s drop to 2A, that leaves the GSL with 10 schools. It’s the perfect number for a balanced league schedule.

Last year, for example, Mt. Spokane and Mead shared the league championship and CV finished a game behind. But CV and Mt. Spokane didn’t play.

The GSL also avoided rivalry games in the opening week. The first of rivalry games will take place in the fourth week.

“With the new schedule, we’ll be able to crown a true league champion and won’t have any problem deciding playoff berths,” Giampietri said.

The change, though, left IEL schools scrambling to fill their schedules.

IEL administrators considered playing a home-and-home league schedule. But coaches, naturally, didn’t want to play each other twice.

There was some concern for a while that the Boise schools – who have played North Idaho schools for a couple of decades – were going to take their ball and stay closer to home. But a wise North Idaho administrator reminded the Boise schools that there was a time they desperately needed games and North Idaho schools came to the rescue.

So the Boise teams agreed to play North Idaho teams.

Still, Lake City is sitting with eight games and is seeking a ninth. One possibility has the city rivals playing twice. In these tough economic times, playing your crosstown rival twice and splitting a handsome gate would be better than spending upward of $5,000 to travel to play a school more than four hours away.

•In basketball, the new 10-team GSL will play 18 league games and have two spots open for nonleague games. The majority of GSL coaches wanted to play more nonleague games like they did this year, but the principals wanted a balanced schedule like football.

Most of the nonleague games will involve matchups with IEL schools. The three-time state champion Coeur d’Alene girls, for example, have games against Lewis and Clark, Shadle Park and Mead next year and are working on a fourth contest against a GSL school.

Coach moves on

Coeur d’Alene boys soccer coach Eric Louis, who took five of six teams to state in seven years, has resigned. He and his family are moving to his native Erie, Pa., to be closer to extended family.

The Vikings won four regional titles including the last three under Louis, who leaves with a 76-28-17 record.

“It’s a very, very difficult decision,” said Louis, who is regarded as one of CdA’s top teachers. “I’m going to miss the boys. They’ve been really good to me. Over the last couple of years we really hit our stride. We had good buy-in from the athletes.”

CdA athletic director Todd Gilkey said Louis will be missed.

“We really hate to see Eric leave,” Gilkey said. “He’s done a marvelous job.”