The winningest coach in Post Falls High history resigned Wednesday.
Girls basketball coach Chris Johnson, whose Trojans captured back-to-back 4A state championships in 2002-03, stepped down after 17 seasons. His career record was 241-161. He coached two teams to third at state and one to fourth.
“I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been a fantastic time,” Johnson, 54, said. “But I want to pursue other interests. I like to snowmobile and ski and I’d rather spend my time on a snowmobile than a yellow school bus.”
Johnson, who teaches honors and Advanced Placement English classes, said he will qualify for early retirement in three years, but will likely continue to teach as long as he enjoys it.
Post Falls finished 8-14 overall and went 0-6 this season in the extremely difficult 5A Inland Empire League where Lewiston ultimately won the state championship and Coeur d’Alene finished runner-up.
“He’s a loss for us,” Post Falls athletic director Craig Christensen said. “He’s had some good teams. His record speaks for itself. He’s etched his spot in school history. We’re sorry to see him leave, but I understand.”
Christensen said it’s difficult to be a head coach of a major program these days.
“The grind of it is it’s a 12-month deal anymore,” Christensen said. “It’s a lot to ask anybody to do.”
Christensen said he plans to post the vacancy immediately within the school district. He was approached Thursday by a couple of boys assistant coaches who expressed interest, including longtime coach Marc Allert and Bryan Kelly.
“I’d like to schedule interviews about a week after spring break,” Christensen said. “We need to get somebody in place for the summer stuff.”
Johnson leaves the program stocked with talent.
“We definitely have the kids coming up to get it back on top,” he said.
Lakeland boys hoops coach Derrick resigns
Trent Derrick, Lakeland’s boys basketball coach the last 15 years, has resigned to spend more time in his new duties as the school’s athletic director.
“It’s time,” said Derrick, 45, whose career record is 139-183.
Derrick assumed the A.D. duties late last summer when Will Havercroft retired. So Derrick figured he’d coach one more year.
“The parts of coaching I’ll miss the most are the practices and the daily connection with the kids,” Derrick said. “I’ll miss the principles you can impart to kids for a lifetime.”
The job has been posted, but it’s not likely to be attached to a teaching job at this point, Derrick said.
“Everything with the (state) legislation is still up in the air,” Derrick said.
Mt. Spokane coach Hannan steps down
Greg Hannan, Mt. Spokane’s boys basketball coach the last two years, has resigned.
Hannan, 47, is a broker at Morgan Stanley in Coeur d’Alene. Because he doesn’t teach at Mt. Spokane, his coaching position, like other coaches who aren’t teachers, is opened up after each season to allow Mead School District teachers an opportunity to apply based on district employment rules.
Mt. Spokane went 1-19 Hannan’s first season and the Wildcats were 6-16 this year.
“I really didn’t want to leave, but I wasn’t going to fight the system,” said Hannan, who was told that girls assistant coach Dan Smith, a former head coach at Riverside, planned to apply for his job. “Hopefully, it will work out for the kids.”
Hannan, who lives in Spokane Valley, was head coach at Freeman for one year and assisted Lewis and Clark head coach Jeff Norton for one year before taking the job at Mt. Spokane.
“I hadn’t intended to resign, but I didn’t want to see this drawn out until May,” Hannan said. “I’m disappointed, but I understand where the school is coming from. I think I had a lot to offer them.”
Mt. Spokane A.D. Paul Kautzman said he hopes to have a new coach in place as early as mid April and no later than early May.
“Two years is a tough barometer,” Kautzman said. “He didn’t get a chance to finish what he started.”