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Prep basketball: Pair done at Hart, GV

Koebel, Hawkins resign as girls head coaches

Posted: February 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.

It wasn’t an easy decision for either coach, but they both had their reasons.

A pair of girls basketball head coaches, Hart’s Zach Koebel and Golden Valley’s Marq Hawkins, resigned in the final week of the regular season.

Koebel said there were two primary reasons he decided to step down. Their names are Riley and Taylor, his 5- and 3-year old daughters, respectively.

“I’ve got two young kids, one (nearly) 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, and I didn’t want to miss more of them growing up,” Koebel said.

The fourth-year coach said his desire to return to school and complete a master’s degree also played into the decision.
Koebel will continue to teach at Hart High School, he said.

Hawkins announced his decision on Friday, the day after Golden Valley’s season finale.

“I’m a father and a teacher first, and I want to make sure that I’m giving 100 percent always to being a father and teaching,” said Hawkins, who has a 15-year-old daughter, Zandi.

The Grizzlies concluded a second straight 0-10 league season for the program under Hawkins. The team went 6-43 overall during his two years as head coach.

The program didn’t see much success before Hawkins arrived as the fourth head coach since the team went varsity for the 2005-06 season.

Both coaches said it was difficult for them to picture going back to the year-round grind and day-to-day responsibilities of the job.

“It’s kind of tough sometimes,” Hawkins said. “Coming home at 11  at night and (my daughter is) asleep. I leave early in the morning and she’s asleep. I think she was missing daddy a little bit.”

Koebel’s team was the smallest roster in the Foothill League this season, going most of the year with just eight players.
The lack of depth was costly in league play, leading to a 3-7 season and a fifth-place finish.

Hart does have an overall 14-12 record though, which keeps playoff hopes alive. Koebel will coach the team if it receives and at-large bid.

He emphasized that the final standings had nothing to do with his decision, which he informed the team of on Monday before the last two league games.

“It was just time,” Koebel said. “I had known it was going to be my last season for a while, and it was beginning to affect me a little bit and I wasn’t sleeping very well, so I couldn’t keep it from them any longer.”

When it came to wins and losses, he said, that was never the biggest concern. Maintaining a passion for the game and strong work ethic always was.

Upon learning the news, some of the players, especially the five seniors, were distraught and emotional, but accepting, Koebel said.

“They understood,” he said. “They see my girls all the time. They understood that I need to be a dad first, and that takes a lot of time.”

Koebel went 41-63 with a league title in four years as head coach after taking over for long-time head coach Dave Munroe.

Now, someone else will have to carry the torch.

“Historically, Hart has done a really good job of bringing in great coaches,” Koebel said.

Golden Valley’s vacancy will be posted on Monday, and as of now, Fisher said there are no candidates to speak of.


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