Ex-coach gets back in the game

Ex-BHS boys basketball coach Scott Orness takes up a new position as the eighth grade boys basketball coach at Woodward. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Ex-BHS boys basketball coach Scott Orness takes up a new position as the eighth grade boys basketball coach at Woodward.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

When Scott Orness announced his resignation as the head coach of the Bainbridge boys basketball team back in March, there were people who asked him whether he was taking another high school head coaching job somewhere else or possibly moving onto the college basketball scene.

Instead, he’s filling a position close to home.

Orness was recently appointed as the new eighth grade boys basketball coach at Woodward Middle School pending school board approval.

He takes over for Steve Toepel, who stepped down as coach after this past season.

The Wildcats play with other middle schools in Kitsap County, including ones in Poulsbo, Silverdale, Belfair and Vashon Island.

“I knew I was never quite done coaching,” Orness said. “I had plans to keep my camps going and if an opportunity did come up that had less time involvement, I’d be interested.

“It really turned out to be an ideal situation,” he continued. “I can still teach the game without the demands of my time in preparing for my opponents.”

Orness brings his wealth of experience gleaned from his seven years spent in the Metro League, regarded as one of the toughest basketball leagues in the state.

He left with a record of 99-70 including numerous coach of the year awards when he led Bainbridge to the state championship game in 2007.

But his new position fills a dream of sorts for Orness.

“Where I was growing up, I thought (a junior high coaching job) was one of the most ideal jobs out there,” he said. “It’s a shorter season, the (time) impacts are lower on the other parts of your life, but you still get that competitive game part.

“Although I loved my last seven years (at BHS), at this place in my life, it’s ideal.”

Orness resigned from his head coaching spot as the demands of his time to ensure the Spartans could compete in Metro were too much.

In his resignation letter, he wrote he did not want to spend any more time away from his wife and two children, Emma and Cade.

“I’m sure that’ll be the one thing that I’ll really miss (is the competition) when I come to the first Metro game and I’m sitting in the stands,” he said. “You feed off that (competition).

“But I think I’m past that,” Orness continued. “Early in my career I felt there was an ego that I had to satisfy and I’m over that.

“It’s the time. That’s why I had to get out. In Metro, you’re playing games, you’re scouting, you’re doing summer league in Seattle. I just couldn’t do that with my family.”

Now that he has a coaching spot where he can be closer to home, Orness said he can focus more on teaching the game he loves to the next generation.

“Number one, I want these kids to have a great experience basketball wise, and two, I want to get them ready to play at the high school level,” he said. “One of the funnest parts (of coaching), to me, is watching kids progress.”

To help those kids progress, Orness said they still have spots available for the two camps he runs during the summer.

The first is the Spartan Basketball Camp that runs from June 23-36 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

It is open to all kids from fourth to ninth grade and the cost is $175 which includes a t-shirt, a basketball and a camp notebook.

There is a 100 player limit.

The other camp is the High Potential Camp, which runs from July 28-31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s open to kids from fourth to 12th grade and the cost is $250 which includes a t-shirt and a camp notebook.

There is a 50 player limit.

Orness not only invites his friends, who coach in various places, he also invites ex-players to come back and help – even Gonzaga’s Steven Gray, who will appear at both camps.

He’ll also have new coach Steve Henderson at the second camp as he gets him familiar with the team and the area.

“I’ve been doing as much as I can to make the transition smooth,” Orness said. “He’s got great enthusiasm and he has a love for the game and wants to do it right.”

Though he’ll be at Woodward as long as he can, Orness said he’s happy to be the new coach and helping players become the best they can in the game of basketball.

“The stage might not be as big, but it’s just as important to these kids as those high schoolers when they step on the floor,” he said. “I’ll be right there by their side ready to go.

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