DHS softball narrows its coaching search to 3

The field is down to three: Mike Cioppa, Michael Lady and Joe Vidunas will interview for the vacant Durango High School head softball coach position at 6 p.m. Monday in the DHS auditorium.

Durango is looking to replace John Bernazzani, who stepped aside in January after five years at the helm. During that time, the Demons made their first-ever Class 4A playoff appearance, finishing the 2011 season 12-8.

Cioppa currently is the junior varsity coach at DHS, and he spent two years each as a varsity assistant at DHS and as an assistant at Fort Lewis College. Before that, he spent 34 years at Danbury High School in Danbury, Conn., where he taught physical education and health and served as a coach for the softball, baseball, football and girls basketball teams.

Cioppa earned his bachelorís degree from the University of Bridgeport and a masterís at Western Connecticut State University.

Lady currently is an elementary physical education teacher with District 9-R in Durango, and he holds a bachelorís degree from Indiana Unniversity of Pennsylvania in sports administration and a masterís in physical education from Arizona State University.

Before landing in Durango, Lady coached hockey and junior varsity softball in Santa Fe and also coached hockey in Pennsylvania before an eight-year stint in the military.

Vidunas is a volunteer assistant coach with the DHS softball team and the father of pitcher Lexy Vidunas. Heís coached with the Four Corners Fastpitch Association since 2005, instructing players ranging from the under-8 age group to the under-18 team. Vidunas also has coordinated registration and development for teams in Aztec, N.M., and he holds a bachelorís degree in geophysics from the University of Delaware.

On Monday, each candidate will field questions from the audience for 25 minutes, while the audience later will have the chance to give written feedback to the interview team, which will make recommendations to DHS principal Leanne Garcia.