Coincidences have a way of creeping into all areas of life – especially the life of a high school coach.
Take Tim Gaebe, for example. As a Kennewick High graduate, he grew up disliking the green-and-gold color combination.
Those colors belonged to the hated rival, Richland. But when Gaebe landed at Shadle Park, where he would coach and teach for 33 years, green and gold became his favorite colors.
“I wasn’t really fond of those colors, but I learned to like it,” Gaebe said.
Gaebe, 62, retired from teaching three years ago. Now he’s walking away from coaching after 15 years as the Highlanders’ head boys basketball coach and another 18 as a varsity assistant.
His first job at Shadle was assisting head coach Jim Groves. Gaebe finished his career coaching Groves’ grandson, Tanner Groves, who has signed to play at Eastern Washington.
Gaebe’s teams were 208-156. He’ll cherish the opportunity of coaching two sons and taking eight teams to state in his first 10 years. He called his best team the 2009-10 squad that took sixth at state.
“That was the team I thought really, really had a chance to win (a state title),” Gaebe said.
He said his second-best team – and the best not to qualify for state – was this year. The Highlanders lost to Wilson of Tacoma 60-59 in a play-in game at Puyallup for a state berth. Shadle finished 19-6.
“I’m really going to miss the competition, the game planning and strategizing,” Gaebe said. “I’ve always said this that the Greater Spokane League is a great league. There were never, ever any gimmies. There are really good coaches and you’ve got to really, really prepare and work your tail off to be successful. I’ll miss that.”
Now Gaebe will find out what it’s like not to always be thinking about his next team.
“My wife, Sue, has never known me without basketball in June and from November to March,” Gaebe said.
Shadle Park athletic director Bruce Hafferkamp said he hopes to name a new coach by early May.
“Tim does so much you can’t replace someone like him in an instant,” Hafferkamp said. “You won’t find a more dedicated or committed man than Tim Gaebe.”
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