Donovan Blythe, the highly successful girls basketball coach at Eastside Prep, is taking on a unique undertaking. He will coach both the boys and girls basketball teams at Eastside this coming season.
“I’m going to take on that challenge,’’ Blythe said. “I’ve got to find a way to make this thing work.’’
Blythe coached the Eastside girls team to Division V state championships in 2016 and 2017. This past season, under the new competitive equity format, the Panthers were placed in Division I as the No. 2 seed, just missing out on being included in the elite Open Division.
The Eastside boys team went 18-8 this past season and was coached by Chris Bischof, who is also the school’s principal and founder.
Obviously Blythe is going to have to delegate game-time head coaching duties as the boys and girls teams play frequently on the same day at different locations. Longtime assistant Kevin Seiter will be relied on extensively.
“Between Seiter and myself we will try to get this thing right,’’ Blythe said.
Blythe will serve as the head coach of both teams on a daily basis at practice, which he will conduct with the boys and girls in a combined session.
“I think the girls will benefit from practicing with the boys,’’ Blythe said. “The boys will benefit from it, too.’’
A native of Evanston, Illinois, Blythe previously served as head boys coach at San Mateo High and at Emery, where he won a state championship with a team that included 6-11 Darnell Robinson, who went on to play at Arkansas. He was also an assistant under Mike Legarza at Canada College.
Now in his 13th year at Eastside, he says he has no plans to coach anywhere else.
“I know what this school is all about,’’ Blythe said. “It’s not about basketball first, I’m not trying to build a dynasty. To me what’s most important is trying to make a difference in a couple of kids’ lives.’’