Bainbridge High School officials recently announced they would seek a replacement for former girls varsity basketball Head Coach Henry Guterson, after having decided not to renew his coaching contract following an evaluation process completed in conjunction with the Bainbridge Island School District.
“We appreciate the time and energy that Coach Guterson put into building the girls basketball program over the past two years,” said BHS Principal Kristen Haizlip. “He has strong working knowledge of the game and has created many opportunities for Bainbridge Island youth to get involved in basketball from preschool through high school graduation for the past 14 years.”
Haizlip said Guterson will continue to provide “options for sports camps and skill instruction through Island Hoops.”
A notice about the available position was posted in late May, the principal said. Interviews began the week of June 4, with Karen Byers ultimately chosen as the new girls head coach, a decision approved by the school district at its meeting earlier this month.
BHS still has questions on where the girls basketball program will go in coming years, and a process has been laid out to find answers.
“To gather information about future direction of the coach and program, [Athletic Director] Kaycee Taylor is working through a feedback process for players and parents, including sending out a survey and facilitating a parent and player input meeting,” Haizlip said earlier. “We value Coach Guterson’s contributions to Bainbridge High School, but at this point have decided to move in a different direction with the program. Our coaching assignments are year-to-year, and when the season concludes the BISD Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for non-continuance of a classified position.”
Guterson had led the team for two years, including last year’s 13-9 season — reportedly the team’s best in some time.
“The school wanted to go in a different direction with a fresh start,” Guterson said. “I’m proud of my two seasons leading the program. Players did well as students and were held to high standards, and our record was 13-9 this past season, the team’s best in six years.
“I appreciate everyone who helped us along the way and I wish the program continued success,” he said.
In an email addressed to players and parents, sent on May 17 and obtain via a public records request by the Review, Guterson reiterated how much his time at the helm had meant to him.
“I’ve enjoyed leading this program and I’ll miss being head coach, but I’ll also enjoy having more time for other pursuits, and I wish all players and parents the best as you move forward,” he wrote. “I’m proud of the two seasons we had together and what we were able to accomplish both on and off the court. Thank you to all players and parents who helped us along the way. I have no doubt that we would’ve accomplished a lot more in future years. I’ll be rooting for you all to do that still.”
Guterson added he would be handing over the summer program he’d set up to the BHS administration.
“I’ve encouraged BHS to post the job and hire a new coach ASAP, so that she/he can still have time to run a summer program,” Guterson wrote.
Girls JV Head Coach Brad Lewis, also a varsity assistant coach, Lewis will reportedly remain with the program.