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Girls hoops coach Lee moves on

After 12 years at West Linn, Glen Lee will take over Lincolns program, leaving behind a strong foundation


by: VERN UYETAKE - Former West Linn girls basketball coach Glen Lee recently stepped down from that role and is now the head coach at Lincoln.The word that might most define girls basketball coach Glen Lee's tenure at West Linn High School is consistency. When Lee first took over the program in 2001, the program was coming off a period where it had gone through four coaches in six years.

Lee quickly made a point of creating an atmosphere of stability from the youth program up through the high school teams.

And, after getting established, Lee's teams at West Linn were also remarkably consistent. Despite battling in what has historically been one of the toughest leagues in the state, the Lions have been competitive as a borderline top-10 team year in and year out while battling to stay in the top-three in the standings.

Now, after a dozen years, Lee says it's “time for a change” as he moves on to take over Lincoln's varsity team.

Lee leaves the program in good hands, as the Lions should challenge for another trip to the Rose Garden this year and a healthy youth program.

Lee's program prided itself on playing solid, pressure defense and adapted to many different styles over the years.

“You always have to adapt to the pool of kids you have. One year you're a drive and kick team with a bunch of guards and the next you're a post team,” Lee said.

During those times, the Lions saw some of the best teams the state has to offer. When Lee first took over the program, Oregon City and Lake Oswego were perennial state title contenders. Lakeridge added its name to that list a few years later and, more recently, Clackamas has been one of Oregon's top squads.

As a result, West Linn's teams were always battle tested.

“We always had special press breaks that we had to work on against those teams and I was fortunate enough to have some pretty good guards over the years who were very disciplined,” Lee said.

For years, it was the Lions' goal to make the state tournament at the Chiles Center or the Rose Garden and West Linn routinely found itself on the outside looking in with a long string of playoff runs that ended just one game short of that feat.

However, perhaps Lee's most memorable team was the 2012 squad which fought through a brutal preseason schedule and found itself ranked in the top-10 by the RPI at the end of the year.

The Lions finally had a favorable match-up in the round of 16 despite having to make a long road trip to Crater.

West Linn won the game to clinch a trip to the Rose Garden,

“When we won that game, my first text message was to more than 40 alumni who have kept in touch, thanking and congratulating them on their hard work which helped get us to that point,” Lee said.

There, West Linn took on rival Oregon City, ranked No. 1 by the OSAA and the Lions pulled off one of the biggest shockers in Oregon girls basketball history.

West Linn broke a 25-year losing streak to the Pioneers, rallying in the fourth quarter for the victory.

That memory will obviously be one Lee hangs on to, as well as the 2006 team which toppled Lake Oswego for the first time in his tenure.

Lee will also take many meaningful friendships with him, both from former players and parents.

“I'm proud of what he built and the life lessons we were able to teach. I have to thank the countless parents who we couldn't have done anything without over the years. It's always tough to say goodbye,” Lee said.



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