Bob Boback, the Gig Harbor High School girls basketball head coach for the past 17 years, was let go on Thursday following an 8-12 season.
Boback had a 235-179 overall record and led four different teams to the Class 4A state tournament. His 2003-04 team finished eighth at state and earned just the second trophy in school history.
“Bob was a great coach for 17 years,” Gig Harbor High School Athletic Director Bob 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 Tides’ 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, whose teams reached the West Central District tournament in 14 of his 17 years, said it’s not 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 he 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.”
Boback said he will miss the players he’s coached. The Tides made three straight state tournaments, although they haven’t been back since the 2005-06 season.
“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 pointed to the team’s youth and inexperience and said he hoped the team’s record wasn’t the reason for his termination.
“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.
“No, (it had) next to nothing (to do with it),” he said.
Boback said he isn’t sure if he will look for another coaching job.
“I’m still kind of processing it all,” he said. “I’m obviously focusing on the positive.”
Werner said he doesn’t have a specific candidate in mind to fill the vacancy.
“It’ll be a wide-open search,” he said. “We haven’t started that search. I’m writing 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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.