Len Bone, who spent the past 21 seasons as head coach of the Snohomish High School boys basketball team, has retired.
The school announced Bone’s decision Thursday.
“Each year, the last 10 maybe, I’ve done a little bit of thinking and tried to decide whether this was the right thing to keep doing. And it was always a pretty quick, ‘Yes it is,’” Bone said. “This time around, it wasn’t that way. I didn’t know how long I was going to do it but it just feels like a good time to step away and kind of re-evaluate.
“It’s a really tough decision. I’m still not 100 percent. I’m at least 51 or 52 percent (sure) that this is what I want to do.”
Bone underwent knee-replacement surgery in March and “had a lot of down time to think” about his future.
“It was just time to step away,” he said. “Snohomish has been an incredible place to coach, from the support of the community to the relationship with the players. The parents here are great. Whoever comes in and coaches next is going to have a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed the time here.
“There’s really not any part of it that I don’t – or didn’t – enjoy. It’s really been a fun way to spend a lot of hours.”
Bone served as the head coach of the Panthers from 1995 to 2016 and has coached high school basketball for 37 years. He continued a trend of stability at Snohomish, which has had just three coaches -– Jack deKubber (1962-77), Jim Adams (78-94) and Bone -– in the past 54 years.
“Over the past 21 years Coach Bone has done a great job of developing our young men on and off the court,” Perry said. “Snohomish High School is thankful of the time and commitment that Coach Bone gave to Snohomish boys basketball. … Len has a passion for the game that exceeds most coaches. His fierce competitive nature was evident in every game.
“Coach Bone will be missed as he retires from basketball at SHS and we all wish him the very best.”
Under Bone, Snohomish made seven trips to the Class 4A state tournament, placing three times between 2002 and 2005 along with a fifth-place finish in 2007.
But it isn’t just the years that featured lots of victories that Bone will remember.
“I think what stands out is there’s never really been a team, since I’ve been here, that has been frustrating to be around them,” Bone said. “We have a lot of good kids. … We’ve had some years that we were fortunate to have teams that won more and there’s been some years we haven’t won so much. And I enjoy some of those teams more, too.”
Bone will continue to teach physical education and health at Snohomish. He also plans on attending quite a few Panthers games in the winter and has not ruled out a return to the court.
“I’ll see a lot of games,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll end up just helping kids individually or being involved with some team as an assistant. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t really have a plan. I haven’t really tried to do anything. I’m not really looking for another coaching deal right now, but I really would be surprised if I’m not coaching in a couple years.
“I think I’m really going to miss it. I don’t really want something else (besides basketball) to fill that void. I just felt, when I talked with my wife, Susan, this was a good time to step away.”