Larsen resigns as KHS girls basketball coach

Former Kodiak girls basketball coach Brett Larsen talks to his team during the 2009 4A state basketball tournament at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. (Derek Clarkston photo)

Brett Larsen resigned as coach of the Kodiak girls basketball team July 5.

Larsen coached the Bears for four seasons. He declined to comment on why he resigned.

Kodiak Island Borough School District superintendent Stewart McDonald also did not comment on the resignation, but did say, “Whatever the situation was it didn’t have anything to do with parent complaints. He has his reasons. He is going to be the one addressing it.”

The school district is in the process of searching for a new coach.

“We are working very hard to find an excellent coach to work with the excellent team,” McDonald said. “Brett Larsen has built an incredible team. Bill (Watkins) and I are working hard to find someone to bring the girls even higher. We are committed to those kids. They play their heart out and we want to serve them well.”

Larsen went 44-59 during his tenure and qualified for the 4A state tournament two out of the four seasons. Before that Kodiak had not been to state since 1987.

“I’m most proud of the kids that came through the program,” Larsen said. “They put in a lot of time and a lot of hard work the four years I had the varsity program and their hard work showed. They got a lot of the results they were working for.”

Larsen said the team never reached the goal of winning a state title, but he was proud that at least they went to state twice.

“The ultimate goal we never quite got there,” he said. “The group that has come in and the group that I was working with, they sure do have an opportunity — there is no doubt about it.”

Larsen, a 1990 Kodiak graduate, replaced Amy Fogle in 2007 after coaching Kodiak’s junior varsity girls for three seasons. Larsen went 9-16 in his first year.

A pair of Northern Lights Conference third-place finishes the next two seasons placed Kodiak into the 4A state tournament. The Bears went 0-2 at state both years.

During the 2009-2010 season Kodiak snapped a 23-game losing streak to Wasilla and a 20-game losing skid to Colony. Larsen said he was proud of accomplishing that.

“I think the kids took a lot of pride in it, too,” he said. “They were able to put the girls basketball program back on the map. Kodiak wasn’t quite a pushover any more. They had to come in, and when they beat us they had to earn it.

“The girls got a lot of respect in the state, nothing put compliments from a lot of the coaches from around the state talking about how the program had turned around.”

Kodiak went 11-11 last season and missed advancing to state by two games.

Larsen said he hopes the program can continue its success.

“Hopefully these kids will work hard and try to progress,” Larsen said. “The signs of a successful program and having successful kids are there.”

Larsen, a high school basketball official before he took the varsity job, said he plans to officiate again.

“I enjoy that almost as much as I do coaching … I look forward to having some fun with that,” he said.

Larsen was the fifth Kodiak girls basketball coach since 2000.

Mirror writer Derek Clarkston can be reached via email at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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