If the 2021 prep basketball season didn’t already bring enough changes, nearly a third of our 22 boys and girls teams will have new head coaches taking over their varsity programs.
We want to welcome and get to know our seven new head coaches: Aaron Bogaard, Tyler Hannigan, Darcie Hill, Ken McLendon, Sarah Tom, Vic Wolffis, and Tim Zylstra. Here’s a look at each:
LYNDEN GIRLS COACH AARON BOGAARD
Background: The Lynden native was part of Lynden Christian’s 1998 boys soccer and 1999 boys basketball state championships and went to state all four years in both sports. The owner/operator of Bogi’s Greens, LLC, a landscape maintenance company in Lynden, Bogaard is married and has two children.
Coaching experience: Assisted Rob Adams at Lynden the past five years, including two Class 2A state championships and a state runner-up finish. Also coached the JV girls for four years at Lynden Christian under all-time great Curt DeHaan and current coach Brady Bomber, winning another state title with the Lyncs.
Outlook: The last 12-plus months have been very strange. I’ve said all along we just want a chance to play. It appears as of right now we’ll get that chance, so we are thankful for the opportunity. It’s not going to be perfect, but if we can bring the effort and desire each day we get to be in the gym, then we can continue to grow and get better. Playing this spring gives us that opportunity, and we are thankful for it.
SQUALICUM BOYS COACH TYLER HANNIGAN
Background: The Minnesota native was a four-sport standout at North St. Paul High School, including captain of his basketball team. After graduating from Winona State University, he later moved to Whatcom County to teach middle school in the Mount Vernon and Bellingham school districts. He is married.
Coaching experience: Assisted Hall of Famer Dave Dickson with the Storm varsity the past three seasons after three years as ninth-grade coach at Owatonna High (Minn.) and one year as varsity assistant at Mounds Park Academy (Minn.).
Outlook: In a year with no tournaments or championships, we understand that we must have a growth mindset and must focus on becoming the best we can be. We must consistently commit to improve on the aggressiveness, intelligence, toughness, conditioning, work ethic, and fundamentals of team, all working to achieve one common goal: a championship culture.
BELLINGHAM GIRLS COACH DARCIE (GARDNER) HILL
Background: The Bellingham native and 2005 Bellingham High grad was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2020 after earning varsity letters all four years in soccer and basketball and two years in track. After starting four years for the University of Oregon soccer team (2005-2009), she continued her career as a member of the Portland Thorns professional soccer team (2013-2014). Hill moved back to Bellingham in 2018 to work at WWU as the wellness administrator, head of the Faculty and Staff Wellness Program, and a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). She is married with an infant daughter.
Coaching experience: While in Portland, Hill coached soccer and basketball at Central Catholic High School (2010-2012) as well as club and high school soccer programs in Eugene and Portland. Since moving back to Bellingham, Hill coached soccer at BHS in 2018 and 2019, and was the JV girls basketball coach for the 2019-2020 season.
Outlook: Our goal is to attack this “May Madness” season with a renewed sense of gratitude for the opportunity to play and represent BHS. We have a handful of strong returnees and are looking to build depth. I am honored and excited for the opportunity to give back to my alma mater, to young athletes starting out where I did, and to a sport that I love. I hope to help these girls reach their potential as basketball players and people.
MOUNT BAKER GIRLS COACH KEN McLENDON
Background: Grew up in New York state, playing basketball at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale and Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. Moved to Whatcom County initially in 2002, again in 2009, and finally in 2012. Ken is a teacher at Ebenezer Christian and owner of McLendon Athletics basketball development program. He is married and has three children.
Coaching experience: Coaches McLendon Athletics AAU basketball teams.
Outlook: This season is about discovering who we are and who we will be going forward. There’s a high level of excitement and anticipation in our program. We’re looking forward to challenging ourselves to even greater levels of success.
LUMMI NATION GIRLS COACH SARAH (BRADY) TOM
Background: The Lummi native graduated in 2009 after leading Lummi Nation to its first three Class 1B state basketball tournament appearances and its only two trophies — fifth in 2008 and fourth in 2009. She went on to play at Whatcom Community College and Northwest Indian College. Tom now works for the Lummi Youth Social Services. She is married and has two children.
Coaching experience: Tom has been a volunteer coach for Lummi youth sports over the past 10 years and was the assistant varsity and JV girls basketball coach for Lummi Nation in 2010-11.
Outlook: Because we don’t have state, we have to keep the girls interested enough to end the season strong. I’ve coached these girls since fifth grade. They are a special group with two sets of sisters and cousins and lots of extended family.
MERIDIAN GIRLS COACH VIC WOLFFIS
Background: Wolffis grew up in Michigan playing soccer, baseball and basketball in high school. An education graduate of Calvin College (Mich.), Wolffis went into teaching and coaching, and has taught social studies at Mount Vernon High for the past 11 years. He is married with three grown children.
Coaching experience: Thirty-two years coaching a variety of sports, 21 years of them in boys basketball at Lynden Christian at various levels, including head coach for the 1999 Class 1A and 2006 Class 2A state championships. Also coached Mount Vernon varsity boys basketball for four years, Squalicum varsity girls basketball for three years, and currently Mount Vernon boys varsity golf.
Outlook: My philosophy of the game can be summed up best this way — field goal percentage, free throws, rebounds and turnovers determine the winner. So, I design offense and defense for the players we have that give us the best chance to win those four categories. The specifics of the Xs and Os have to bring out the best in the personnel we have so they change from year to year and have over the years. Regardless of the specifics, we talk relentlessly about playing hard, smart, and together and no matter what we are doing, we do it to honor the Trojan nation (self, teammates, family, school, community).
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN BOYS COACH TIM ZYLSTRA
Background: The Lynden native was an all-state guard for the Lyncs in 1984, who went on to play at Centralia Community College for two years and Seattle University for two years. He is married, has five children and is the owner of Terrebonne Limited, a Lynden-area gardening tool supplier.
Coaching experience: Zylstra assisted Hall of Famer Roger DeBoer at LC the past nine years, including two 1A state championships and two state runner-up finishes.
Outlook: It’s an honor and a privilege to to have played here and now to get to coach here at LC. I don’t take that for granted. Most importantly, through the game of basketball, we as coaches can help these kids continue to build their relationship with Christ and help them give the best of their God-given abilities in everything they do in life
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.