He joins the Gladiators after six seasons assisting in a successful Sandy program -

Gladstone High School has a new head boys basketball coach.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY JOHN DENNY - Gladstone coach Cody AkerCody Aker, 28, was hired in late spring to replace longtime Gladstone coach and educator Ted Yates, who had been head boys basketball coach for 17 nonconsecutive seasons. Yates, who last school year served as athletic director in addition to coaching two math classes, is now full-time athletic director.

“I’ll have some other duties [besides athletic director] which have not been determined yet,” Yates said. “I think one of them will be tutoring kids in math. I hope so, because I like being around kids.”

The 58-year-old Yates said of Aker, “He comes in with a very good background. His dad has been head coach at Wilson for years, so he’s been around athletics forever. It’s certainly been part of his lifestyle. He’s got experience beyond his years. He knows how to dial in with kids, and he’s a fine young man.”

“I’ve had education in my blood from day one,” said Aker. “My dad, Scott Aker, is still coaching basketball at Wilson. He was the athletic director there, but he’s retired from teaching. My mom is community school coordinator, through Portland Public Parks, at Mt. Tabor Middle School.”

In addition to coaching basketball, Cody Aker will teach general biology, and a pilot program in marine biology at Gladstone.

He holds a degree in secondary education from Concordia University (2008), with an endorsement in biology, and a masters degree in curriculum and instruction from Portland State University (2013).

Aker is a 2004 graduate of Wilson High School, where he was a three-sport athlete (cross country, basketball and baseball) and played basketball in his father’s program.

Aker garnered second-team All-PIL honors in basketball. A 3.81 student at Wilson, Aker earned a combination academic/athletic full-ridge scholarship to Concordia, where he started four years, making the Cascade Collegiate Conference defensive all-star team three times.

His senior year at Concordia he was named team MVP and team “defensive player of the year,” and school “male athlete of the year.”

Aker has been assistant coach under Jason Maki at Sandy for the past six years, where together they helped turn the program around.

“The two seasons before Jason and I came to Sandy, 2006-07 and 2007-08, they won only six games,” Aker says. “Our first season there we won five games, and we had double digit wins in each of the next five seasons. The past two seasons we’ve had 19 wins each season. In 2013 we made the final eight of the 5A playoffs; last year we made the playoffs and lost in the first round.”

Of his goals at Gladstone, Aker says, “Short-term, I let the kids make the goals. But we’ve got a strong senior class and I expect that they will have very high aspirations. I think they’ll probably want to contend for the league title and make a deep run in the playoffs. With a team dominated by seniors, I think that those are realistic goals that we can reach....

“Long-term, I want to develop a strong program at all levels.... I would like us to have 20-win seasons. I’d like to have people look at Gladstone as a 4A state power.”

Aker’s Gladiators had experienced a successful summer through play in late June.

“We played 20 games, against 5A and 6A teams, and strong 4A programs, and we finished better than .500,” Aker says. “I like to play bigger schools, because it makes you better.”

The Gladiators went 2-2 during a summer tournament at Canby, defeating 6A teams from Centennial and Reynolds, and playing 6A teams from Roseburg and Century tough in close games.

“Almost half the teams we played [over the summer] were teams from higher classifications,” Aker said.

Aker says his teams at Gladstone will be defense minded.

“Tough half-court defense,” he said. “Limiting teams to just one shot each trip down the floor.”

Aker takes over a program that is in good shape.

Under Yates, the Gladiators last winter went 19-4 and tied La Salle for first place in the Tri-Valley Conference, with a 9-1 record. And in 2012-13 they made the Class 4A State Tournament, after going 5-5 in the TVC (14-11 overall).

“This is an awesome opportunity,” Aker said. “I’m only 28 and it’s been my ultimate goal to be a teacher and head coach....

“I look at my experience in college and at Sandy, and 28 years with my dad as a coach, and I know the effort that’s required to be successful. I’ll work hard to make sure our players know what is required and do everything I can to help them be successful and reach their attainable goals.”

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