On Monday, Jeff Smith will start his 17th season of basketball coaching duties at Glide High School.
But this year, he’ll be coaching both programs — the boys and girls.
“This is my 17th year with the boys,” Smith said. “My experience with the girls is one game two years ago against Creswell when Brannon was sick.”
Brannon Smith, Jeff Smith’s son, resigned as girls basketball coach at the end of last season to spend more time with his family. The Glide girls had a 10-13 season last year.
Glide School District had the position posted, but didn’t get any applications.
Jeff Smith approached the administration about three weeks ago about coaching both teams.
“I said, ‘If you cannot find a coach I can do, I would like to do it and I accept the challenge,’” Smith said. “It can be done, but you have to have the right personnel around you, which I do. It’s a collective effort from the coaching staff and the parents have to be understanding and players have to understand what’s going on, too. They’ll have to show some maturity and leadership and get themselves ready to play, because I’m not going to be there every second.”
There have been a few Douglas County coaches who have taken the helm of both programs, including Bid Van Loon, who coached both Yoncalla teams in 2013-2014, and James Ellis coached both Days Creek teams in 2003-2004.
Glide athletic director Brian Halter will be the junior varsity coach for the boys. “When I’m wrapping up the girls game, he’ll be preparing the boys,” Smith said of Halter’s duties.
Sandra Wright will be back as an assistant coach for the girls’ team and Sam Moyers will return as the JV coach for the fifth season.
“I don’t look at it as boys or girls, they’re basketball players to me,” Jeff Smith said. “I’ll make them the best basketball players I can, the best team I can produce.”
His goal is for both teams to make it to the Class 2A state tournament in Pendleton on Feb. 28-March 2.
“The goal is the same as with boys: I’m going to win a league title and go to state, that’s the goal,” Smith said. “It’ll be interesting. We’ve got the new league now, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when the dust settles at the end of the year.”
Here are the other coaching changes in Douglas County:
Roseburg girls basketball
After six years as an assistant, Dane Tornell is stepping into the head coaching position for Roseburg High’s girls basketball program.
“I think I have one of the greatest groups of young ladies and parents that a coach could ever ask for,” Tornell said. “I’m very excited to be able to start my career at Roseburg with a lot of quality human beings.”
He’s replacing Rich Robles, who was his mentor for four years when Tornell coached the junior varsity and freshman teams for two seasons apiece.
Tornell said his focus this year will be about heart and mind, putting the players first and basketball second.
“I’ve been working with a group for about eight months now,” Tornell said. “Our league is unbelievably strong, the Southwest Conference is probably the strongest league in the state right now. I think Roseburg is very small in size, but we are really fast and very aggressive and hope to capitalize on our speed and tenacity.”
When not coaching, Tornell is the executive director for Umpqua Valley Youth for Christ.
South Umpqua girls basketball
Dusty Pires is the new girls basketball coach at South Umpqua.
Pires’ daughter, junior Kyla Pires, played for the team last season.
All-FWL honorable mentions Shalyn Gray and Tayah Kelley could return to play for South Umpqua. Gray also made the all-defensive team last year.
Dusty Pires replaces Keri Vermillion. Vermillion’s daughter, last year’s second team all-Far West League selection Jadyn Vermillion, was a freshman for the Lancers last season but transferred to Sutherlin at the beginning of her sophomore year.
Yoncalla boys basketball
Darwin Terry will take over as the new boys basketball coach at Yoncalla High School.
Jarred Eakin coached the 12-11 team last season, but had to step down due to health issues.
Riddle girls basketball
Darci Shivers will expand her coaching duties at Riddle High School.
Shivers coached the softball team last season and will now also be the head coach for the girls basketball program.
She was an assistant coach under Rocky Rodgers last season for a team that went 3-20 overall, but was winless in Mountain View Conference.
Rodgers moved to Drain at the beginning of the school year and took over as the head coach of the football program for North Douglas High School.
Randy Gunn stepped down as head coach of Riddle’s wrestling program and Dustin Lewis will take over.
Aaron Swan will return to coach Oakland wrestling. He coached two previous season for the Oakers.
Leon Carl was listed as the coach last season.
Canyonville Academy girls basketball
Stephanie Pippin will take the Canyonville Academy girls basketball team coaching duties over from Lance Nutter.
Reedsport girls basketball
Dan Kenagy steps in as the head coach for Reedsport’s girls basketball program after last year’s head coach, Patrick McKnight, led the Brave to a 4-19 overall record.
Reedsport’s girls did not have any Sunset Conference wins last season.