Woodburn girls basketball coach to retire after second stint with Bulldogs

by: ARCHIVE PHOTO - Woodburn girls head basketball coach Hank Vredenburg (right) and longtime assistant Walt Howell (middle) are leaving the Bulldogs bench after their recent three-year stint from 2011-14.After nearly 30 years of coaching, including coming out of retirement for a second stint with the Woodburn girls basketball team, coach and educator Hank Vredenburg is ready to hang up his whistle and clipboard once again.

“You just know when it’s time to go,” Vredenburg said.

Vredenburg recently wrapped up his third season at the helm of the Bulldogs girls basketball program.

He and longtime coaching partner Walt Howell had coached together for many seasons at Woodburn in various platforms, helping the Bulldogs fill coaching vacancies from soccer to basketball from 1975 to 2004.

“He and I have been coaching together for years,” Vredenburg said.

Vredenburg and Howell came back to the program in 2011 after former head coach and middle school teacher Luis Guevara was arrested for allegations that he had a romantic relationship with a 17-year-old student and sent inappropriate text messages to several female students on the basketball team he coached.

Vredenburg had originally intended to come back on an interim basis for the 2011-12 season until Woodburn hired a new coach, but Lowell convinced him to stick around for two more seasons.

Vredenburg, 66, decided the time was right to step away a second time in favor of a younger coach so he could continue his family business ventures.

“This is a young man’s game, and I just felt it was time to step aside for someone with more energy,” Vredenburg said.

In addition to helping with his daughter’s business, Vredenburg also owns his own photography company, Hank's Photography. Vredenburg cited the time commitment between the three jobs as part of the reason for stepping down.

“There wasn’t room for everything, and something had to go,” he said.

In the past three years under Vredenburg, the Bulldogs have gone 19-49 overall and 5-37 in league play. Vredenburg said he’s greatly invested in the group of girls he’s coached at Woodburn — not just in basketball, but in all sports — and he is excited to watch them play from the stands instead of the sidelines starting this fall.

“I won’t be at all the games, but I will be at a lot of them,” he said.

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