By Ray Hamill — There will be a period of adjustment for most of the H-DNL basketball teams this season, with several new head coaches taking over around the league.
Of the 18 varsity teams in the Big 5 and Little 4, 12 will feature a new head coach after an offseason that saw an unusually high turnover.
The transition will be made easier for several of the teams with former assistants stepping into the head coaching role in many cases.
The Little 4, in particular, sees a big turnover, with seven of the eight teams featuring new head coaches.
Issac Gildea returns for his second year in charge of the St. Bernard’s boys, but he is the only returning head coach in conference from last season.
At South Fork, former head coach Taylor Morrow is back in charge of the boys team after spending time as assistant coach with Ryan Bisio at College of the Redwoods.
Over in Hoopa, Roman Hutt will take over the boys varsity team, while Tristan Waters is the new head coach of the Ferndale boys.
The Little 4 girls, meanwhile, will have four new head coaches, although not all of them are new to the program.
At Ferndale, Terra Albee steps out of an assistant coaching role to take over as head coach, while Floyd “Cowboy” Billings returns to coach the Hoopa Warriors after a two-year break.
Local legend Augie Valdez will take over the St. Bernard’s girls, while Sheena Sisk Hawkins will coach the South Fork girls.
In the Big 5, meanwhile, each school features one new head coach, including a couple of former assistant coaches who are stepping into the role.
Jimmy Rodgers steps in as the new head coach for the Eureka boys, while Kellen Maynard takes over the Arcata boys.
Cindy Semore Clancy is the new McKinleyville boys head coach, Tom Chapman is the new head coach for the Fortuna girls and Cris Rice takes over the Del Norte boys.
The good news for all the new coaches is they they should have plenty of time to adjust in what is expected to be a full season this year after a very brief spring season in 2020/21.
All 18 local varsity teams will spend much of December playing tournaments, including several here on the North Coast, before league play tips off in early January.