OKANOGAN — Gary Smith, the Caribou Trail League’s all-time wins leader for girls basketball, has resigned from his post as head coach at Okanogan High School.
According to athletic director Steve Chamberlin, Smith submitted a letter of resignation, which the Okanogan School Board accepted, at its meeting on April 27.
“I’ve got some health issues related to my open-heart surgery,” said Smith, who had quintuple-bypass surgery in 2008. “I’ve had the issues from a little before mid-season.”
Smith coached the Bulldogs for three years, compiling a record of 53-23 during that time. This past season, Okanogan went 21-6, compiled a perfect 10-0 mark in the Caribou Trail League, won a second consecutive league title and advanced to the Class 1A state tournament.
“We are very grateful to coach Smith for his service to Okanogan High School,” Chamberlin said.
“The student-athletes he has coached have been great representatives for our school. They have always shown good sportsmanship at the contests and a strong dedication to excel on and off the court.”
Smith has a career record of 232-94 over his 13 years of coaching in the CTL with Omak, Tonasket and Okanogan. He passed longtime Ephrata coach Don King for the league’s coaching wins mark with a victory over Cascade in a regional playoff game on Feb. 19.
“I’m going to try to take care of this,” Smith said. “It doesn’t mean I won’t coach again. But I don’t get the chance to exercise enough when I’m coaching.
“During the season I wasn’t sleeping. I was getting up in the middle of the night and watching film. Doctors said my blood pressure wouldn’t kill me but that would.”
The position will open immediately, according to Chamberlin. The goal is to have a coach in place by the end of May.
Meanwhile, Tonasket is also looking for a new girls basketball coach after the recent resignation of Stephanie Schertenleib. Schertenleib played for Smith when he coached at Tonasket in the late 1990s.