After a couple months out of the loop Kevin Strozier is back in the coaching business.
The former Lincoln High girls basketball coach was hired to fill the same position at Kingston High, a new high school in the North Kitsap school district that will open this fall.
Kingston is a class 2A school that will play in the Olympic League.
"I’m ecstatic," Strozier said. ". "I am just happy they are giving me the opportunity to continue to coach. I knew I would get an opportunity to get back into coaching because people who know me know what kind of person I am, and what kind of coach I am. So I knew it would just be a matter of time"
Strozier was put on administrative leave in January by the Tacoma school district as it investigated allegations of administrative and procedural irregularities for his role in an altercation involving two Lincoln girls basketball players at practice on Jan. 4.
Lincoln star player Alex Montgomery and three other players sat out of the district playoffs in support of Strozier, and the Abes failed to advance to state.
Strozier was later relieved of his head coaching duties by the school district in April.
Kingston High athletic director Dan Novak said the North Kitsap performed its due diligence before hiring Strozier, and felt the situation at Lincoln was an isolated incident.
"Our district did its homework," Novick said. "And we are satisfied that the situation at Lincoln was isolated to Lincoln, and it won’t be repeated here at Kingston.
"We’re excited. I really don’t think it’s everyday that a 2A high school gets an opportunity to hire a coach like Kevin Strozier. Not only has he been successful on the court, but he holds kids accountable in the classroom as well."
Strozier finished with a 96-42 record at Lincoln, winning two Narrows League titles and taking Lincoln to the state tournament two years ago.
He will be in a different environment now, commuting an hour to Kingston, a growing rural community about a half hour north of Bremerton. Strozier said he looks forward to the new challenge.
"Coaching is coaching," Strozier said. "For me it doesn’t matter. It all depends on how you take what’s there for you and what you do with it. So I don’t have a problem with that at all.
"Kingston was just something that was very attractive for me. It’s a new school, and establishing a program was important for me. We get to work from the ground up and just work hard to try and make it successful."
Strozier said he will continue to work as a para educator in the Tacoma school district, but may take a job in a similar capacity in the North Kitsap school district if an opening is available.
— Eric Williams