By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Head coach Brent Stephens has resigned after two seasons, leaving Port Angeles searching for a coach yet again, much to the chagrin of the some of players' parents.
“It has been an incredible experience with phenomenal basketball players . . . and phenomenal families,” Stephens said.
“I couldn't have asked for better parents or players.
“It has been a great experience.”
Stephens said he resigned “completely on my own accord.”
Stephens leaves with a 15-26 overall record and 12-20 in the Olympic League.
He was hired weeks before the start of the 2012-13 season from California, where he coached at the high school and college levels, most recently as an assistant at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
The Roughriders struggled to a 3-17 record (2-14 in league) in Stephens' first season, but bounced back with a 12-9 mark (10-6 in league) and a district playoff berth this past season.
“We were the most improved team in 2A,” Stephens said.
“That's a testament to the players. They were just great to coach.”
Many parents of Port Angeles boys basketball players want Stephens to stay.
They plan to talk at tonight's school board meeting at Franklin Elementary School in hopes of getting Stephens reinstated.
The parents feel that Stephens did not receive adequate support from the Port Angeles athletic department.
They also are concerned that the boys basketball program has gone through so many coaches.
Previous coach Wes Armstrong, now head boys basketball coach at Battle Ground High School, spent three years coaching the Roughriders before resigning in July 2012 after he was unable to secure a full-time coaching job at Port Angeles High School.
Prior to Armstrong, Art Bell served as interim coach for one season after the school was unable to find a replacement for the departed Erik Lathen, who departed in May 2008 to take a coaching job at Beaverton High School in Oregon.
Stephens declined to comment about the parents' concerns with the athletic program or their attempts to keep him at the school.
Port Angeles athletic director Dwayne Johnson was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Tonight's school board meeting begins at 6 p.m.
Stephens is unsure of his next step.
“I have not quite figured that out,” he said.
Stephens said he and his daughter likely will move to Monroe to be around relatives for the short-term future.
Beyond that, he'll search for an opportunity as a head coach of a high school program or as an assistant at the junior college level.
“I will find a program that is really supportive of developing student-athletes year-round,” Stephens said.
Stephens said he is most proud of the improvements the Riders made as players and people.
“We had a ton of success on the court and a ton of success off the court,” he said.
“Just seeing them mature as men.”
Stephens said his brother and assistant coach, J.T. Stephens, also will be leaving Port Angeles, but it hasn't been determined if they will be going to the same place or even remaining in the same state.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.