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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Three new coaches will take over programs next season
Three of the four girls basketball programs in Federal Way will have a new coach patrolling the sidelines when the season kicks off in November.
Thomas Jefferson was the final team to hire a new coach last week when Gina Gildyard accepted the Raider head coaching job.
Federal Way hired Josh DeYoe immediately following the season. Beamer replaced Heather Sugg with Corey Alexander last month.
Gildyard comes to TJ from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, where she was the head coach for the past two seasons. She is a middle school language arts teach in the Seattle School District.
"TJ is excited to welcome Coach Gildyard and is anticipating her leading our ladies to success on the court, as well as in the classroom," said Jefferson Athletic Director Ron Ness.
Gildyard takes over for Jerry Krueger, who coached the Raiders for nine seasons. This year, Krueger led TJ into the postseason for the first time since 2009 before bowing out at the West Central District Tournament with a 10-14 record.
Krueger was 84-119 since taking over the Raiders in 2003. His two best seasons came in 2008 and 2009. Jefferson won 16 games both years and was one win from qualifying for the state tournament.
Krueger hasn't left the TJ cupboard bare. Leading the list of returners will be Jada Piper. The 5-foot-11 guard was a first-team, All-SPSL North selection after averaging a team-best 13.8 points. Piper scored more than 20 points five times during the season.
Alexander comes to Beamer after serving as an assistant at Auburn Riverside High School for the past two seasons and succeeds Sugg, whose contract was not renewed after the season.
Sugg was hired before the 2008-09 season, after she spent two years as the junior varsity coach at Beamer. The Titans finished 3-16 during Sugg's first season and went 2-17 the following year, which included Sugg being diagnosed with a brain tumor midway through the year.
However, Beamer responded with the program's best season ever last year by finishing 13-10 and advancing into the West Central District Tournament for the first time. The Titans finished this season with an 8-12 overall record with an extremely young roster.
Alexander will also bring back a star next winter in Megan Huff. The 6-foot-2 wing is already drawing interest from some of the better college basketball programs in the West. Huff played in only 15 games last season as a sophomore, but averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots a game and was also a first-team, All-SPSL South Division selection by the league’s coaches.
DeYoe inherits one of the best programs in the area from former Federal Way head coach Danny Graham, who stepped down after six consecutive trips to the postseason, including four-straight state tournament berths.
But things at the top of the Eagles program shouldn't change much. DeYoe has been Graham's assistant for all six seasons.
In the past six years, Federal Way was an impressive 126-37 and finished second at the state tournament in 2011 and third in 2009.
Alison Stephens will be the longest tenured girls basketball coach at the four Federal Way high schools next season. Stephens will be entering her second season coaching the Decatur Gators.