CNHI News Services
It was just time, according to Chad Mashburn. That is how the Moore High athletic director described the departure of two of the Lions’ coaches over the last couple of months.
Gone are girls basketball coach Tim Gray and swimming coach Rhonda Nelson. While several factors went into their departures, athlete development and competitive success were areas Mashburn looked at when making these decisions.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that’s not a factor,” Mashburn said. “Because ultimately, it is. But you have to look at everything. I don’t believe in these two situations, that was the reason. But being new to this, you have to look at every aspect of everything.
“You have to look at where the program is, what’s the program accomplishing, if the kids are getting better, how they are competing, the attitude of those kids, what they are saying about the teams they are on.”
Gray took over the girls’ basketball team in 2007. In his six years at Moore, the Lions racked up a 19-124 record. This past season, Moore went 3-20, including an 87-19 loss and a 101-18 defeat at the hands of rival Southmoore.
“We made the decision late March, early April,” Mashburn said. “We brought him in and made the decision. He was surprised. He had put a lot of hard work into it. I understand his loyalty here … The things that he’s done, the character he’s built with these girls has been something really cool and neat to see. But we just felt like it was time.”
In the past Gray had commented several times about the challenge involved in trying to make the Moore girls competitive at the Class 6A level. Even though he tried to change the attitude and mindset around the program, he was never able to see that translate into wins on the court.
“Obviously coach Gray did an awesome job working with our girls,” Mashburn said. “And he did lots of great things with them. It just came to the point where we felt like we need a change. It’s never easy.”
Concerning the swim team, the change is an attempt to get the squad back to its former glory.
“You want to build programs and our program was struggling a little bit,” Mashburn said. “We’ve had some really good swimming programs in the past and teams that have done well. We are going to compete, we’’re going to win. We’re going to do all those things that we need to do. We felt it was time for a change.”
Both Gray and Nelson were removed from their posts at the end of the school year. Their replacements have already been hired.
Trey Taunton was hired in June as the new swim coach after being an assistant at Westmoore.
“He’s been in district for a couple of years,” Mashburn said. “Been working with the Westmoore swim program. He brings a passion to the program the kids are going to feed off of. That’s huge.”
Rhonda Fields will take over the girls’ basketball team. Her experience spans 30 years with stints at Jenks, Stillwater, Chickasha and Sulphur. She has amassed a 489-306 record
“She’s taking the right steps to change the program,” Mashburn said. “Every program that she has stepped into, she has taken them to the state tournament … Every place she’s been, she’s changed that program for the better. She is going to be a hall of fame coach. You can’t pass up on somebody like that.”