The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 26, 2013

Coffey steps down as Seneca girls basketball coach

Bob Coffey has resigned after five years as girls basketball coach at Seneca High School.

“I don’t have any plans (to take another position),” Coffey said Tuesday. “It’s just a good time for someone else to do it.

“I like coaching,” Coffey said. “I want to teach a few more years. I’m 50. I have a lot left.

“Next year? I can see myself (at Seneca High School) teaching science and helping Chris Yust with baseball,” Coffey said. “I’ll always be a teacher.

“I do like any kind of fishing, particularly fly-fishing, and turkey hunting,” Coffey added with a laugh.

Coffey is in his 26th year in education with duty at Afton. Wyandotte and Greenfield as well as an earlier stint at Seneca.

He taught at Wyandotte for 12 years with nine as the boys basketball coach. Those seasons he didn’t coach at Wyandotte weren’t wasted, he said, as they produced precious memories working for the late Charlie Williams at Ozark Christian College in Joplin.

The coaching started at Seneca in fall 1988 as an assistant for boys coach Kenny Southworth. He did that for two years before another pair handling junior high basketball and high school track. Then came the Afton boys for three years.

Coffey, who lost his wife Cindy at 46 to an illness in late 2008, indicated the second stint at Seneca has been a kind of life saver.

“I thought I was out of coaching (after a year at Greenfield),” Coffey said.

Coffey jumped, of course, when the Seneca position became available.

“Coaching — the responsibility — helped keep me going,” he said. “I inherited a good team. They were not only good players but wonderful young ladies.

“I’ve been blessed with my time at Seneca,” Coffey said. “It’s been a privilege.”

Coffey also said he’s been blessed by marriage to the former Valerie Gilbert of Seneca.

Coffey, a 1980 graduate of Grove High School, attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before receiving his undergraduate degree from Missouri Southern. He has a master’s degree from Pittsburg State.

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