Gig Harbor High School girls basketball head coach Bob Boback's 17-year career has come to an end. Boback was let go by the school on Thursday, after an 8-12 season. Gig Harbor athletic director Bob Werner said it was just time to go in a different direction.
“Bob was a great coach for 17 years,” Werner said. “This is the most difficult part of this job, which I can't stand. It's a tough situation. We just want to go in a different direction.”
Werner said the participation numbers in the girls basketball program have been dipping for years.
“Our participation numbers were consistently lower, compared to other neighboring schools,” Werner said. “It's not all on him.”
Boback said the participation problem wasn't unique to Gig Harbor High School.
“The participation numbers being down, it's across the board,” Boback said. “Girls basketball is down everywhere.”
Boback said he wasn't given any reasons for the firing, and said he didn't feel Werner was supportive of the program.
“He never came to a practice,” Boback said. “He evaluated me without being there and having anything to evaluate me for. I felt totally blindsided (by the firing).”
Boback said he's feeling sad right now, and will miss the players he coaches.
“I'm sad at the way it happened and the circumstances,” Boback said. “Seventeen years of my life, it's been a great blessing to coach. I felt really fortunate. The way it was handled was very unprofessional and not honest and not with very much integrity. But I had 17 great years and I'm very thankful.”
Boback also said he hoped the team's record wasn't the reason for his termination, pointing to the team's youth and inexperience.
“I thought we had a really good year, considering our youth,” Boback said. “Our only returning starter was a sophomore.”
Werner said the team's record wasn't a factor in the decision.
“No, (it had) next to nothing (to do with it),” Werner said.
Boback said he isn't sure if he will look for another coaching job at this point.
“I'm still kind of processing it all,” Boback said. “I'm obviously focusing on the positive.”
Werner said he doesn't have anyone specific in mind to fill the vacancy, and will allow people to openly apply for the job.
“It'll be a wide open search,” he said. “We haven't started that search. I'm writing the job description. It'll be open in march. Hopefully it doesn't take too long, but we'll spend all the time necessary to get the right coach in there.”
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.