GCHS boys basketball coach steps down

3/10/2010

By JASON ELMQUIST

By JASON ELMQUIST

jelmquist@gctelegram.com

It was an emotional moment Wednesday morning at Garden City High School as boys basketball coach Jeff Tanner announced his resignation after 12 years.

"I just want to start by, 12 years ago, Dave Meadows and Kevin Burr offered me a great opportunity," a teary-eyed Tanner said. "It's one that I never took lightly."

Athletics director Bill Weatherly made a quick statement before Tanner took questions. The last several years, Tanner has been working alongside Weatherly as the assistant athletics director.

"I just want to say that I appreciate the work Jeff has done here as the basketball coach," Weatherly said. "He's done a lot of wonderful things for our kids and I really appreciate his work. This is only concerning his coaching position, not his teaching position at all."

Though the press conference was just about his coaching position, Tanner said he does have some other options that he is looking into for next year.

"There's already some thing in the works," Tanner said. "I'm looking at several things right now, but whether anything comes from that, I don't know. I just know that I want to stay in coaching."

This year the Buffs finished with an 8-13 record (1-7 in Western Athletic Conference play) and lost an 80-50 game to Wichita North in the first round of sub-state. Last year, the Buffaloes finished with a 4-16 record, 1-7 in WAC action.

"Even in the years that we struggled, I had great kids to work with," Tanner said. "That's the thing that sticks with me. ... We've had some good runs. It wasn't always easy and for 12 years I sank my heart and soul not only into this basketball program, but also into this school."

Tanner led Garden City to the state tournament just three years ago in the 2006-2007 season behind two guards who went on to play at the collegiate level Drew Jones and Bobby Wesley. In 2003, Tanner led the Buffaloes to a third-place finish at the state tournament.

"In 2003, I'll never forget," Tanner said. "... We were playing a Wichita North team that everybody had penciled into the state tournament — it was a done deal. And we went in there and we clipped them (in the sub-state finals) and qualified for state.

"At state, we're eating our pregame meal and we're reading about all the teams and they talk about seven of the eight teams — the one team they didn't talk about was Garden City. We were written off. I shared that with the team and they went out that night and beat the second-seeded Maize team by 16. We lost in the semifinals to Wichita Southeast by three and then in the consolation game, we beat a Wichita Northwest team which had two Division I players on it."

The process will begin immediately for Tanner's replacement with Weatherly predicting the replacement to be announced in April. Weatherly said he doesn't plan to be a part of the search, leaving it instead to incoming athletics director Martin Segovia.

"Off the top of my head, we'd like to have a new hire by at least the third week in April," Weatherly said. "I probably won't be a part of this process. We'll let Martin do this whole thing and we'll go from there."

Tanner is the second head coach to resign from GCHS this year. In November, Mike Smith stepped down as the head football coach after eight years. His successor, Brian Hill, was announced in February.

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