Burbank High has selected Steve Eshleman as its next varsity boys’ basketball coach.
This past season Eshleman served as the varsity girls’ basketball coach at Van Nuys High School and was also an assistant at St. Francis High in La Canada Flintridge.
Eshleman has lived in the Los Angeles area for five years, having spent more than 35 years as an educator and coach in Pennsylvania. He retired from teaching in Pennsylvania, but worked as a long-term substitute in Burbank Unified several years ago. His wife, Laura, is a teacher at Joaquin Miller Elementary School.
“I saw that Burbank was looking for a coach and with my wife teaching there, I’ve been there a little bit. So I got my resume in and was very fortunate to be selected. We’re really happy and I’m excited to get going,” Eshleman said.
Eshleman is part of the Hall of Fame at Hershey High School, his alma mater, as he was part of the 1972-1973 team, the best in school history.
“I used to work in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup factory when I was in high school during the summers,” Eshleman said of his hometown, which is known for its chocolate. “The street lights are Hershey kisses.”
Eshleman becomes Burbank’s fifth head coach since 2018, following Jamayne Potts, Ernest Baskerville, Sid Cooke and Michael Lance.
Lance is a Burbank graduate and teacher, who applied for the permanent job. He took over in December after Cooke’s departure and led the team to a 9-16 record, after beginning the season as the freshman team coach. Lance will remain with the program as the official teacher of record during the class period designated for boys’ basketball.
The Van Nuys girls’ basketball team posted a 13-15 record last season. St. Francis went 20-11 last season.
Eshleman was the varsity boys’ coach at Northern Lebanon High in his home state during the 2005-06 season. The Vikings posted a 6-18 mark, 3-7 in conference.
Eshleman said he is used to working with a community in building a program.
“You run your whole program out there. We ran elementary programs from first grade all the way up. We were responsible for it all. You got to know the kids when they were young and you brought them through your elementary program into middle school and into high school. It was a huge advantage,” he said. “So they knew you and it was such a huge advantage because you knew the parents and you knew the kids and it worked out really well. That helped me as a coach because I got a feel for the total program.”
Eshleman has a nice group of returners led by senior-to-be Omar Payind, the second leading scorer on the team this past season, and sophomore-to-be Evan Baker, who is the son of former Burbank great Matt Baker.