Eastlake, Skyline hoops programs moving forward with new leadership

July 25, 2014

By Neil Pierson

The Skyline High School boys basketball program has reached the state tournament twice in its 17 seasons of existence, something Bill McIntyre will be looking to change as he takes over as head coach for the 2014-15 season.

McIntyre was hired this spring after former coach Maui Borden’s contract wasn’t renewed. Borden had a 13-24 overall record in two seasons, including 8-22 in conference games.

Eastlake High also hired a new head coach this spring, selecting former Eastside Catholic School coach Steve Kramer to take the reins. Kramer was at Eastside Catholic for five seasons (2006-11) and replaces Brian Dailey, who resigned due to conflicts with his full-time job. The Wolves won 12 games under Dailey last season, coming within a win of a state berth.

McIntyre has strong ties to the Skyline community, having coached at the youth level for the Skyline Select program from 1998-2011. For the past two seasons, he served as an assistant under head coach Omar Parker at Liberty High School.

It’s McIntyre’s first head-coaching gig at the high-school level, but he said he has no reason to believe he won’t be successful. He has already coached many of Skyline’s players, either at the select level or at Pine Lake Middle School.

“I know most of the kids and their parents, and that’s a huge advantage as a new coach,” McIntyre said. “So I don’t feel like there are any huge challenges, outside of our opponents, to be honest.”

McIntyre experienced a similar rebuilding situation at Liberty, where the Patriots have gone 17-31 over the past two years.

Skyline and Eastlake will likely benefit from reclassification changes this year as Class 4A state champion Garfield leaves the KingCo Conference along with Ballard and Roosevelt. Still, there’s plenty of quality opposition, including 2014 state runner-up Issaquah and perennial powerhouse Bothell.

“It’s a competitive conference,” McIntyre conceded. “But I think Skyline, as a school, has been pretty competitive in most sports.”

He called his time at Liberty “invaluable,” noting Parker coached for a decade at the college level with Boise State, Washington State and Missouri.

McIntyre hasn’t chosen any assistants yet, although he said he has a number of people helping out with the Spartans’ busy summer schedule, and expects to name a staff once he’s had a chance to properly evaluate candidates.

Kramer, who works full time in commercial real estate, said his three years away from coaching sparked a passion to return. Before the Eastlake job was posted, he said, he’d been advising former players who are set to enter the working world.

“Being a mentor in kids’ lives is just sort of a hard thing to replace,” Kramer said. “To still be a part of their lives, where they ask for your help here and there, you sort of realize how badly you miss being an influential part of kids’ lives.”

The Eastlake program is “definitely heading in the right direction,” he said, and it’s been a boon for Kramer to have Dailey, athletics director Pat Bangasser and Hall of Fame coach Rich Belcher, an Eastlake teacher, express their support.

“They’ve got three ex-coaches here who care a lot about this program and are still highly involved, and I want to keep it that way,” Kramer said.

On the court, Kramer preaches smart decisions and fundamentals. He expects his players to take good shots, play solid defense and expose opponents with weak ball-handling.

Eastlake’s defense will largely be a man-to-man scheme, with some traps, presses and zones mixed in, and the offense will be continuity-based with lots of movement.

“It’s designed to get the most out of the ability that we have,” Kramer said of his system. “If that … is enough to win a lot of games, that’s awesome. That’s a byproduct of working hard, playing smart and having good players.”

Kramer and McIntyre have some history together that’ll be reignited when the Wolves and Spartans face off this winter. They coached against each other at the youth level.

“That’ll be fun to face Bill again – it’s been 10 years, I think,” Kramer said.

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