Bremerton basketball assistant resigns after new head coach is picked

A longtime assistant coach for the Bremerton High School boys basketball team resigned Wednesday, citing disappointment with the district's head coach replacement.

The resignation of Phil Olwell, the only paid assistant on the team that went to state last year, comes two days after the district hired Darren Bowden, 41, to coach the Bremerton squad.

It took the district more than three months to fill the post, and Olwell applied for the job after an initial search failed to produce a hire.

Practice starts Nov. 15.

Olwell was on the committee for the first round of interviews, but asked to be removed for the second round so he could apply.

"I went all in," Olwell said, adding he was also disappointed with how the process was handled. "It was getting late in the game and I wanted to keep this thing going."

Olwell was surprised when he learned the district had selected a coach from a rival high school with a similar coaching background — more than 10 years an assistant. Olwell had been an assistant under Lindberg since 1999, advancing to paid assistant "three or four" years ago.

Bowden replaces Casey Lindberg, who left the district in June for a job as an assistant principal with the Peninsula School District. Bowden was for the past 12 seasons an assistant coach under John Callaghan at South Kitsap High School.

Olwell said he is familiar with the system and on a first-name basis with Bremerton's players, and believes the team would have been better served hiring someone from within.

"It would have been one thing if they brought in someone who had been a head coach somewhere else," Olwell said. "But this was an assistant from a rival high school."

"This was the straw that broke the camels back," Olwell said.

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