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Palo Alto makes coaching change with boys' basketball team

Original post made on Dec 15, 2009

Bob Roehl hasn't seen the Palo Alto boys' basketball team play in person this season. He also hasn't met any of the players. Roehl, however, knows all about the program and its history. Roehl was Paly's assistant coach under Peter Diepenbrock when the Vikings won the 2005-06 CIF State Division II championship. Roehl returns to the team on Monday, but not as an assistant.

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Comments (21)

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Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm

The Palo Alto Basketball team should be one of the contenders for a C.C.S. Division Championship this year.

I saw the Palo Alto team play in the 33rd Burlingame Lions Tournament last week. Burlingame had to play the best half of basketball for their teams this season, in beating Palo Alto on Friday. Burlingame got 4 three pointers and committed only 4 turnovers in the first half.

I don't know what more Coach Andrew Slayton could have done, since the Palo Alto player's missed many shots in the game.

I thought Coach Slayton had been doing a fine job as the head coach at Palo Alto. I also saw the Palo Alto team in the preseason last year.

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Posted by The Problem
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

The problem at Paly is the AD Hansen. Just look at the baseball program changes and now basketball. He is a pawn to the parents. He needs to be fired.

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Posted by Paly junior
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm

To "Patrick" and "The Problem":
I am a junior at Paly. Kevin Brown has had less than 10 minutes of playing time the entire season. Same is true for Brendon Rider, another fantastic player who started nearly every game last season. Adrian Augmon was initially the 6th man on the depth charts, until Slayton for no apparent season moved him to 17th man; the last guy on the roster. Adrian quit, but hopes to return under the new coach. The problem was a coach who wasn't in his right mind. Hansen isn't doing anything worth firing over.

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Posted by Hoop Fan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 16, 2009 at 7:49 am

Time for Earl Hansen to retire.

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Posted by Former Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I agree that Hansen should step down as AD. He should have stepped down many years ago. If it's not a "marquee" sport (boys football and basketball) he doesn't care very much and bows to parental pressure just to avoid facing any problems.

Guess that the parents on the BB team this year were too much for him to handle, hence the mid-season coaching change.

I've known some former Paly coaches over the years, especially during the years my kids were at Paly. I saw some excellent coaches tossed out just because parents complained they were "too tough." Translate that as, "My lazy kid doesn't get enough playing time."

Unless you attend every practice and know the team rules, you have no idea why a particular kid is playing or not.

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Posted by Bruin Baller
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Coach Slayton completely dedicates himself to his kids, and if certain players weren't getting time, I'm sure there were good reasons. This stinks of bitter parents getting way over their skis about their kids not playing (which I'm sure there were good reasons for).

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Posted by Blackmonstertwirlybird
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Earl Hansen has been an outright jerk since 1979 at Paly. His profanity laden halftime talks were always gems! How he was ever hired to be the AD at a great academic institution like Paly is beyond understanding.
Bob Roehl was a great coach even back in the late seventies at SF. I attended his great basketball camp during the summers at SF. He will rise above Hansen's poor ethics and leadership.

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Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

Kevin Brown played 11 or more minutes in every game of the Burlingame Tournament, Brendan Rider played more each game except the championship game, when he played 21 minutes and Kevin played 25 minutes.

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Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Paly was 4-2 with two losses to very good teams. On the court, it sounds like the coach did a good job. Clearly something happened behind the scenes.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Parents had nothing to do with it. Ask the players and you'll get the answer.

The coach penalized certain players for approaching the AD about some concerns last season and again this year. If you ask me, it appears that the kids were trying to work within established protocol and not involve their parents.

After some players were "caught" talking to the AD again this year, the coach threw a tantrum and walked out of practice later that afternoon and never came back. In other words, the coach quit on the team.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm

These knee-jerk judgments of the the Athletic Director at Paly are irresponsible. He does not "cave" to parents. He does what is in the best interest on the athletic program. A coaching change at this point might be in the best interest in the team. Don't be so quick to jump to easy conclusions without the necessary information.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Especially when you consider that the coach quit the team - the AD did not dismiss the coach.

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Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm

The coach did not quit the team. He did not throw a tantrum. He was fired.

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Posted by Player
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Coach Slayton never threw a tantrum about some of us talking to the AD. He never penalized us for talking to the AD. He never walked out of a practice. And, he never quit the team. As The Student says, he was fired. I was there. I know. Crescent Park Dad you are lying. Please keep this to the facts that YOU witnessed. Were you at practice?

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Posted by WF
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

They players have this right, Steve and Dad you are really off track. Hansen is a football coach and has proved time and time again that he is brutally incompetent as an AD in many sports.

The comment on caving to parents is key. Of course, within Palo Alto, there are parents who complain, doubtless on both sides of every issue. The job is to figure out the right thing and to do it. He has an unerring instinct of doing the wrong thing, even when the right thing is obvious. If he listens to parents, he consistently listens to the wrong ones.

Look at the butchery he has made of girls water polo or boys baseball! He went out of his way to pick the wrong coaches and not to include the right ones. He listens to griping parents of departing seniors and to the man from Paly Sports Boosters whose only concern is getting a coach who will allow him to participate so he can get his son to start at baseball when he doesn't deserve it.

The principal's and administrations' failure to do anything given the repeated failures on this is fairly shocking. This is starting to reflect on Skelly as well as McEvoy.

That said, while it is possible that there are good reasons for a coaching change that the AD isn't disclosing, he has clearly lost the benefit of the doubt because when facts have been revealed in other situations, he has been found completely wanting.

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Posted by No guts
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:40 pm

After dealing with past Paly players and parents, it comes to no surprise that another coach was let go. Seems when parents from this school cry about their kids not getting enough or any playing time, Hansen caves in. Again, it's just my opinion but it sounds like Slayton wasn't going to let the players/parents dictate to him how he would run the team. Though, I can't figure out why Rider wouldn't get much playing time. Very good athlete with lots of hustle. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Just like "The Player" post said, "I was there. I know". Well, I know too because I have experienced the Paly parents and I wasn't liked either because I wouldn't back down to their demands of playing their kid more. I stress team play and attitude and not individualism. So the ones who were lazy and wanted to be "Like Mike" sat. Great job Hansen!! Sounds like your priorities are in tune with Drew Gordon's as far as individuality is concerned. No surprise he left UCLA cuz the offense didn't surround him either. Tsk..tsk...

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Posted by Priorites
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm

As teachers coaches should be allowed to impart lessons. Like - show up at practice. Show up at conditioning. If you dont, you do not get to play. Simple life advice. But Hansen caved to a few parents and the mutiny was on. I guess having an older brother who is really good makes you entitled. Nice generation we are raising Hansen. Way to directly contribute to a very disturbing trend.

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Posted by HS hoop fan
a resident of another community
on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I heard paly lost big to sacred heart cathedral last night. That would make two losses in a row since The head coaching change. So they lose to a 5-5 skyline team that lost to st. Francis by 10( st Francis didn't have their football guys). Then they get whacked by cathedral at home. Why is paly not posting scores? Why is there really no coverage of this? Typically when a coach is fired papers and journalists are hot to see how the program rebounds... Or doesn't... as seems to be the case right now..

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Posted by Paly Basketball Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm

As a parent of one of a Paly basketball player, I can say that the parents had little, if anything, to do with Hansen’s decision. This process was initiated and driven by the kids. And the issue wasn’t playing time; the issue was the poor communications between Coach Slayton and his players.
The final chapter really started with Coach Slayton’s publishing of a “depth” chart. The problem with this depth chart was 1) he never told the kids his rationale for why they were placed where there were on the depth chart, and 2) he forbid them from talking to him about how to move up the depth chart. The result: confusion and frustration amongst the kids.
Let me draw an example for the parents who don’t have a player on the team. This would be similar to a math or science teacher handing out a test, then immediately returning it without grading it but giving the kids a grade nonetheless. The student wouldn’t have any idea as to which questions he got right or wrong. And the student would be forbidden from asking the math or science teacher why they got the grade they got. If your student had a math or science teacher who “taught” that way, I’d guess you as a parent might have an issue.
In the case of Coach Slayton, it was the kids who took it upon themselves to talk with Coach Slayton. When AD Hansen also attended that meeting is when everything came to the surface. That meeting did end with Coach Slayton walking out of practice.
So I’m sure that for the average Hansen Hater, it is a much better story to talk about how Hansen bowed to the pressure from the parents. In reality, the story is much more boring. It was simply a case of an AD listening to the kids, watching the interactions between the coach and the kids, and making a firm decision.
Kudos to Hansen for making such a quick and decisive decision.

BTW, the new coach sounds like a keeper, based upon my son’s feedback. He’s been very clear to the kids regarding his expectations of them and the team. That’s an excellent start.

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Posted by irritated by ignorant comments
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Thank you (Paly Basketball Parent) for setting the record straight. I have read all of the comments and am astounded by the ignorance and opinions of people who have no idea what they are talking about. The decision that was made by Hansen was done so for the best interest of the school and the players, and had little if nothing to do with the parents. I can't imagine that any of you that were commenting on the "laziness" of the players or the justification of limiting players' playing time had any idea what was really going on behind the scenes. I am disappointed reading these comments which sound like a gossip column written by bored Palo Altans with nothing better to do than sit around and gossip about situations they find entertaining. Need I remind you we are talking about high school students. Gain some perspective. Unless you are a player on the basketball team you cannot speak to the experience that the players endured with their coach nor the work ethics of any player or coach, in which case you should keep your ignorant opinions to yourself. I think a few of you may have a little too much time on your hands. Again we are talking about kids.

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Posted by "Lazy" Brown's Relative
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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