RAYMOND — Retired Raymond High School principal Ron Bell has been appointed as the Seagulls’ interim boys basketball coach, athletic director Jason Koski announced Tuesday.
Bell succeeds Pat Rogers, who resigned Monday. Rogers cited health-related reasons in meetings with the team and district administration.
“I was looking forward to working with this group of kids,” Rogers wrote in an email Tuesday. “But, because of my health, it was best for me to step down.”
Bell said practices have been proceeding smoothly, with assistant coaches Ryan Freeman and Randy Carlson assisting in the transition.
“It isn’t the best of working conditions, but it’s been OK,” Bell said. “The kids have been receptive to what we want to do. They’re working hard (in practice).
“Coming out of retirement, it hasn’t been the easiest transition for me, but we’ll make it work,” he added.
The star of Raymond’s 1970 state basketball championship team, Rogers had himself come out of retirement this year. He had stepped down after coaching the Gulls to the 2001 district 1A boys title.
He had returned to the bench following the resignation of Mike Tully last summer. Tully, who had guided the Gulls to a pair of Pacific League championships, indicated at the time of his resignation that he had been forced out.
Returning several regulars from last season’s league championship team, the Gulls were regarded as the consensus Pacific League favorites this season. Getting a late start to the basketball campaign after advancing to the state Class 2B football semifinals, the Gulls have seen their roster decimated due to a variety of reasons.
Starting guard Alex Sida is believed sidelined for the season with a high ankle sprain. Some other returnees have failed to turn out or defected to other sports.
The Gulls will take a 3-4 record into Friday’s home game with South Bend.
Rogers wrote that the manpower shortages did not have a bearing on his decision.
“While the decimated roster certainly provided a challenge, it’s all part of coaching,” he noted.
Bell said he was hopeful of reinforcing the squad with some players currently not turning out. He said he and the assistants are in the process of installing a new offensive system.
“We’ve got a good core of six to eight kids and the kids have been working hard,” he said.
Although most of his recent educational background has been in administration, the 65-year-old Bell has an extensive coaching background in several sports.
He was a head varsity boys basketball coach at Mossyrock for one season and also coached the sport at the junior high or JV levels at Mossyrock, Adna and Davis High School in Yakima. While in Yakima in the mid-1990s, he coached a sixth-grade girls basketball teams to a Northwest AAU championship and a 13th-place finish in the AAU nationals.
Bell also guided Adna to its first league baseball championship in 27 yards, been a head football coach in Montana and an assistant in football at Mossyrock and Adna. He has also coached track at several schools.
He retired in 2008 after six years as Raymond’s principal.