Port Angeles High School boys basketball coach resigns

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles boys basketball team is without a head coach after Wes Armstrong resigned this week to take a teaching job at Kelso High School.

“It was with a heavy heart,” Armstrong said of his resignation during a telephone call Friday. “I made this decision with my family in mind.

“In a perfect world, I would spend my entire career here.”

Armstrong, who guided the Roughriders to a 48-25 record in his three seasons at the helm, applied for a teaching job at Port Angeles High School.

When he wasn’t hired, he had to look elsewhere for a place to teach special education. Kelso hired Armstrong soon after receiving his application.

Though it didn’t end in the manner he would have preferred, Armstrong is content with his tenure.

He said when he was hired in 2009 he was asked to rebuild a struggling program and is satisfied with what he accomplished.

The Riders were 3-15 the year before Armstrong arrived. He led them to season records of 12-11, 19-7 and 17-7.

They made the state tournament in 2011 and were one win away from another trip to state last season.

When reached Friday, Port Angeles athletic director Dwayne Johnson expressed sadness to see Armstrong leave.

“He did an excellent job,” Johnson said. “We’re impressed with his performance, character and ability to coach.”

Armstrong said his proudest moment was beating Sequim in February 2011 on the night the 1966 Port Angeles boys basketball team was honored.

The win clinched the No. 2 seed at the Class 2A sub-district tournament.

“To do it not only in front of our fans but that great Roughriders team that took second at state, that was the pinnacle,” Armstrong said.

Though he leaves the Riders with no regrets about the work he did, Armstrong’s early exit means some business is left unfinished.

“I always wanted to win a league championship or bring home some state hardware,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong expressed his gratitude to the players, parents, coaches and the staff at Port Angeles for their help and support.

He said he notified the Port Angeles players about his resignation through email and letters, and that he expects to have a short meeting with them Monday night.

At Kelso, Armstrong returns to the school where he served as a volunteer assistant coach in 2008-09.

But he plans to take a year off from coaching, and said a break might do him some good.

“It might be nice to be away from basketball for a year and recharge the batteries a bit,” Armstrong said.

Johnson said the search for Armstrong’s successor will begin as soon as possible.

He added that he will first look within the district for a new coach.

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