The new head coach has coached at Clackamas before

by: JOHN DENNY - Ryan King (right), the new head boys basketball coach at Clackamas High School, strategizes with assistant coach Eddie Wilkins.Longtime Clackamas High School assistant coach Ryan King has been named head boys basketball coach at Clackamas High School, replacing Jeff Bair.

King, 37, was assistant to former head coach Steve Gustovich for nine seasons, coaching at the freshmen, jayvee and varsity levels. He was a varsity assistant in 2003, when the Cavaliers placed third at state.

After Clackamas, he assisted at Putnam for a year (2005-06), before heading up the program at Molalla High School, where he has been for the past six seasons.

'They hadn't won a league game in three years when I got there,' King said of the Molalla program. King's Molalla teams placed among the top three teams in league in 2008 and again this past season, advancing to the sweet 16 of the state playoffs both years.

The Indians went 7-3 in the Tri-Valley Conference (17-9 overall) this past season, bowing out of the state playoffs with a loss to Seaside, which went on to place third at the Class 4A State Tournament.

'Ryan's the right person to run our program,' Clackamas Athletic Director Jeff Erdman said. 'He's been an assistant in our program and he coached at Putnam. He's got experience, he's got energy, he's highly organized, he cares about kids, the kids love him, and he's going to take the kids as far as they can go.'

'It's a great opportunity,' King said. 'It's a great community, they've had some excellent coaches here, and they've got some great kids....

'I grew up in the area and I've got friends here. I'm excited to be here and I'm excited to get going.'

King is a 1993 graduate of Milwaukie High School, where he played soccer, basketball, football, tennis and baseball.

He holds a bachelor's degree in community health from Portland State University and a master's degree in arts and education from Concordia.

He'll continue to teach physical education, health and math at Molalla, while coaching basketball at Clackamas.

King has retained Eddie Wilkins as varsity assistant, and he's hired Clackamas High graduate Rick Chaney as a second varsity assistant. Chaney has been an assistant at Oregon City for the past six seasons, King said.

'After I get to know the kids, we'll sit down as a group and talk about their goals and what they'd like to accomplish,' King said. 'Longterm I want to develop a program that the kids are proud to be a part of, and a program where we're competitive every night out.'

Jeff Bair resigned at the end of the 2011-12 season after seven seasons as Clackamas' head coach. His teams won 61 percent of their games, going 102-65. They advanced to the big-school state playoffs twice, losing close games to Newberg in 2009 and to Central Catholic in 2011.

Bair, said his decision to resign was made in part because of the conflicting schedules at Clackamas High School and at the North Clackamas School District's middle schools. Due to budget cuts, he taught social studies at a district middle school last year when his teaching position at Clackamas High School was cut.

'I am keeping my options open to continue to coach, because I still have the passion for coaching....,' Bair said.

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