Sports

New coaches to take helm of KW hoops

VB also getting new coach.

The face of King’s West basketball is about to change.

Both boys basketball coach Rick Walker and girls hoops coach Bryan Hanley are leaving their respective programs after a decade or longer helping put King’s West on the state’s class B map.

Walker, who’s led the boys hoops squad for 15 years, and Hanley, who just finished his 10th season with either the high school or junior high program, are now leaving KW athletic director Dan Dittmer with two large holes to fill.

“It’s a real challenge,” Dittmer said.

Walker, a shooting guard who helped lead East Bremerton to back-to-back state titles under coach Les Eathorne, took over at King’s West in 1993, when the school was just two years old. In 2005, he led the Warriors to their first state berth — and a sixth-place finish.

“He is the face of the King’s West basketball program,” Dittmer said. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s got size 800 shoes to fill.”

Hanley too has had his fair share of success with the Lady Warriors, leading KW to six consecutive state berths and the school’s first trophy, a fourth-place finish this season. The program as a whole has been to state every year but two since 1996.

“For me, there was never a good time but a right time,” Hanley said of his decision to step down. “The right time is now.”

But he admits it hasn’t been easy so far.

“I’m going through some pretty bad withdrawals,” he said.

For Walker, the transition had already begun, as he split coaching duties with former KW player Jesse Reeves this season.

“He kind of stepped back this past year,” Dittmer said. “That was a clue.”

Walker will continue to run Sports Beyond, a Christian-based sports program that includes Total Package Hoops as well as the West Sound Senior All-Star Games.

While Walker transitioned himself out of role, Hanley is leaving a team loaded with returners. Just two seniors graduate from this year’s varsity team in guard Megan Morris and Hanley’s neice, Megan Spence. Hanley was quick to point out that Spence’s graduation had little to do with his own departure.

“Megan is obviously an excellent player and a huge part of our success,” he said. “But she is but one of the kids I love. It was a pretty difficult decision.”

The decision was made easier however with only two departures, allowing whoever fills the role next to take on a team that’s already well-rounded.

“It’s tough to leave when you have such a great core group coming back,” Hanley said. “They’re good to go. I don’t have to feel bad about walking away from the program.”

In thanking his players, parent and coaches, Hanley said those relationships will have much more of a long-lasting affect on him than any of the team’s wins or losses.

“I couldn’t tell you our record this season without going to my books,” Hanley said. “But I could tell you about every kid I’ve coached at King’s West.”

Basketball aren’t the only vacant coaching positions at King’s West however, as Dittmer himself created more work for his AD persona when he decided to step down as the high school volleyball coach. Dittmer teaches full time and also coaches high school track in addition to his duties as athletic director.

“Too many things,” he said. “And I’m happier coaching junior high volleyball.”

With the total work load piling higher, Dittmer said it was time to take a little off his plate.

“Having the athletic director (role) on top of all that, a lot of nights I didn’t get home until 11 p.m.,” he said. “I feel I can do more good for our athletes and coaches as an athletic director.”

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