Meeting with his players in the high school's community conference room early last week, Dave Garvin broke the news that he had stepped down as their head coach.

The 64-year-old Garvin, who had taken over Philomath High's girls basketball program in 2013, had to tell the team in an emotional discussion that he just could not continue.

Garvin said he told the team, "We're to that point where it's just not feasible for me and you need better than that. I have no enthusiasm to go to practice. I never thought in my life I would say this, but right now, I could care less about basketball. And that's all because of the off-court issues. They just drained me, just totally drained me."

Shelly Brown, who has been leading the unbeaten junior varsity squad, will finish out the season as the interim head coach. Rob Brown, assistant varsity coach, has resigned. JVII coach Stacey Barnes and volunteer Lacey McNeely are still with the program.

Garvin's resignation officially occurred Jan. 27, a day after the Warriors lost to Cascade.

"After I got home Friday night, that's when the straw came that broke the camel's back," Garvin said, referring to a phone call from a parent. "And I just said, 'that's enough.'"

The resignation occurred with six games remaining in Philomath's season.

"This is a team that is on the cusp of doing really good things and next year, I fully expect you'll be in the championship hunt, but I'm not going to be a part of it," Garvin said he told the team. "There are just outside influences, off-court influences, that have driven me to the point that I can't do it."

Shelly Brown has worked with Garvin since he took over the program.

"It's so emotional, they're heartbroken and they know Coach Garvin is hurting," she said Friday night after the Warriors lost by six points to Stayton. "I think we all know he did what's best for him and you know, everybody is just wishing him the best."

The resignation came as a surprise to those around him and Garvin said even his wife wondered if he was making a knee-jerk reaction. Garvin said assistant principal Mike Bussard asked him to keep an open mind and take the rest of the weekend to think it over, but the longtime coach knew he needed to move on.

"I talked with kids that had played for me, some of my high school friends I'm still close with, a couple of other coaches and that. Basically, they all said the same thing — it's not worth it for you," Garvin said. "I spent lots of time with Rob and Shelly talking about this back and forth on things. The more I talked about it and the more I went through it, you know, (I concluded) I don't need it."

He then added, "I feel horrible for the girls because we have a great group of girls and we're close."

Garvin said he stressed to his players that it was not their fault that he was leaving.

"The first thing I said was, 'There's not one person in this room who had any involvement in this. No one here is in any way, shape or form the cause of this, but unfortunately, it's going to affect everybody,'" Garvin said.

Principal Brian Flannery sent a letter to parents to inform them of Garvin's departure from the program.

"He has had a number of off-the-court things going on in his life, and this is the best thing for him and his family," the letter in part reads. "We all respect that this has been a very difficult decision to make."

In addition to some harsh criticism he said he was receiving about his coaching, Garvin also recently lost his father and an aunt.

"I will say in all honesty, and I talked to the administration about this, if I hadn't lost two people who were very close to me, my breaking point might've been higher. But it is what it is," he said.

Just as his wife, Rob Brown has also been with Garvin for the past four-plus seasons.

"Rob's a volunteer and he stepped up big time for me this year," Garvin said. "He stepped in without missing a beat and took the kids when my dad passed away and my aunt passed away, and the kids played hard for him."

Garvin added, "I appreciate Shelly stepping up and finishing out the year. It's good for the girls instead of having somebody who hasn't been there all year step in for a month."

Shelly Brown said the team has talked about working its way through the off-the-court issue.

"It's something they've got to go through, so I've encouraged the girls to talk to myself or any of the other coaches," she said. "I've encouraged them to reach out to Coach Garvin. It's not something where they're going to find closure but establish a different relationship with him because he's still here and he still cares about them a lot.

"I think it's just that each player has to find their own way in it and come to terms on their own," she added. "I hope it happens sooner than later, just because it's really hard to see them hurt."

Garvin leaves behind a remarkable varsity basketball coaching record that has covered 32 years at three schools. Leading teams in Iowa and Oregon, he compiled an overall record of 431-270 with two state titles.

The pinnacle of his time at Philomath came in 2002 when the Warriors captured the Class 3A championship while Garvin won state and national coach of the year honors, and his son and star player, Logan Garvin, took player of the year.

With Garvin's two children, Logan and daughter Dani, playing at the next level, he wanted to enjoy watching them play so he decided to give up the PHS boys basketball job after winning the 2002 title.

Garvin continued to teach in the classroom until 2013-14. That September, doctors discovered cancer in his jaw. Surgery followed a few weeks later and he worked through recovery the rest of the academic year.

Months earlier, Amy Leonard had resigned as the girls basketball coach. Garvin had been working with players in the years before he took the job, including middle-schoolers that he would later coach with PHS. After Leonard's resignation, Garvin committed to working with the girls over the summer so they could stay sharp on fundamentals.

"The summer season ended and no one had applied," Garvin said. "Administration asked if I would take the job."

Garvin had to give it a little thought. It had been more than a decade since he left the boys' program and he had come to enjoy things like visiting his out-of-state grandchildren over the holidays.

But he accepted the job and remembers telling the school, "You guys have to understand, I'm blunt and I'm going to tell people what I think they need to hear. The way I teach is correct to perfect. I also have a very high standard. You guys have to support that, parents are going to complain about it."

In that first season, the Warriors went 22-5 overall, finished unbeaten in the conference and placed sixth at the state tournament. Overall through 4-1/2 seasons, Garvin compiled a 60-49 record with the program.

Garvin landed his first high school varsity job at Urbana, Iowa, in 1977. In his three years at the school, he took the team from 2-12 to 12-8 to 17-5. He moved on to Nashua, Iowa, where he compiled a 79-47 record in six seasons, highlighted by a 22-3 mark and state title in 1985.

Garvin then took over the Philomath boys in 1986 with a 5-15 record in that first season. But the very next year, the Warriors went 15-10 and qualified for the Class AA state playoffs.

Philomath followed in 1988 with a 22-3 record and trip to the state title game, where the Warriors lost to Central, 54-48. In 1989, Philomath went 25-2 and again had to settle for state runner-up with a 72-64 loss to Central in the title game.

After a three-year postseason absence, Philomath made it back to the playoffs in 1993 and finished with an 18-7 record and fourth place at the 3A tournament. In 1995, the Warriors again qualified for the playoffs and ended up 16-8 overall.

Then in 1996, Philomath reached the upper echelon of 3A with a 21-7 record. The Warriors lost a tough game to Sutherlin in overtime to fall into the third-place game, which Philomath won over Marist, 58-52.

The Warriors qualified for the playoffs again in 1997 but missed the postseason in 1998 and 1999 before returning in a big way in 2000. That season, Philomath went 23-3 and had a playoff run that took the Warriors all the way to the championship game. Creswell got the win in the 3A finale, however, by a 56-40 count. In 2001, Philomath placed fourth at the state tournament.

Then came the memorable 2002 tournament. The run to the championship included victories over La Grande (44-28), Marist (58-57), Astoria (52-37) and fittingly, Central (40-38), the school that had defeated earlier Garvin squads in two title games.

Over his 17 seasons coaching the Philomath boys, Garvin finished with a 261-149 record with four appearances in state championship games.

In all, competitive basketball has been a part of Garvin's life, either as a player or coach, for nearly six decades, dating back to his Cub Scout den games as a youngster in Iowa.

As for Garvin's future, he doesn't plan to renew his teaching certificate after serving as a substitute since his retirement from the classroom. In basketball, he has offered to help individual players, if requested.

"If some of the others come and say, 'Coach, can you work with me on my shooting or can you do this and that, I will gladly work with them," he said. "Then I'm back to working with kids doing the thing that I love to do. If you're willing to come work, I'm willing to work with you."

In the letter to parents, Flannery addressed the issue about what happens next with the job.

"After the season ends, we will seek input from athletes, families and other stakeholders regarding the qualities we are looking for in the next girls basketball head coach," he said. "As we do with each head coach hire, a student and parent representative will be part of the hiring process."


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