Kenley Nebeker resigns as Moffat County girls basketball coach
After two years with Moffat County High School basketball, Kenley Nebeker announced this week that he will be stepping down as head coach for the girls hoops program.
Nebeker accepted a position Monday with Williston State College in Williston, North Dakota, officially resigning as the Lady Bulldogs’ coach in the process.
His last day with Moffat County School District will be Nov. 1.
Nebeker was originally hired for the coaching position in 2016, also hired as the district’s instructional coach. More recently, his career function within MCSD was changed to family liaison counselor.
Nebeker declined to comment on the reasons for his leaving apart from differences with administrators.
He said he decided to take the job at Williston — where he will be moving himself, wife Jen and son Liam — largely due to familiarity with the school’s president and vice president as former acquaintances.
“They have admins there I know I can trust and work with,” he said. “It’s such a great challenge to stretch me in my career.”
He added he does not plan to get involved with athletics at Williston for the time being.
“Gonna step back, heal the heart a little bit,” he said.
Nebeker inherited a highly successful team from previous coach Sam McLeod, who took the varsity squad to the 3A state quarterfinals in two consecutive seasons, following a streak of playoff appearances under Matt Ray.
With Nebeker at the helm, the Lady Bulldogs had their furthest-reaching season in more than a decade earlier this year, playing in the 3A state semifinals for the first time since 2006.
The team held onto its long reign as the 3A Western Slope League district champions in both years with Nebeker’s overall record as coach 39-12.
He noted it’s been his players’ effort and dedication that have been the reason for success.
“These Craig girls really are special and unique in their drive to win, their work ethic and in their love of each other and the game. A coach is just a facilitator,” he said.
Nebeker said he will also miss fellow coaches along the Western Slope, many of whom he respects deeply as good friends.
“I’d never been anywhere long enough to have that, and I’d started to build that with some of the coaches in the league,” he said. “I really enjoyed that collegial relationship. There’s some great coaches in this league and some great people.”
Nebeker also coached a youth camp with Craig Parks and Recreation this week, a commitment he said he wanted to fulfill. He will be running open gym sessions for players through the end of the month, as well.
MCHS Athletic Director Bobby Howard is in the midst of replacing Nebeker. Howard’s tenure with the school began this summer, and though he never saw Nebeker coach an official game, he was expecting good things from him this winter.
“Never had much of a chance to work with him, but I always thought he was a nice guy and I was hoping for a good, successful season,” Howard said. “It’s tough that it has to happen, but I wish him the best of luck in his new venture.”
Nebeker said he has faith players will continue to thrive under whoever takes his place.
“There’s the old saying, ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,'” he said. “These girls very much follow that, and if you put yourself on the line for them, they’ll put themselves on the line for you. I’ve never had an issue with them not working hard enough, and as long as they continue to hard work, they’re going to be successful, because they have the talent to do so. That’s all I ever did was ask the girls to work hard.”
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.