I just got word this morning that Stephenie Wheeler-Smith has stepped down as head girls basketball coach at Cleveland High School to pursue an opportunity in the women’s program at the University of Oregon.
The Eagles have won the past two Class 3A state championships and three over the last five years under Wheeler-Smith and assistant coach Derrick Wheeler-Smith, her husband. They took over the program in 2008-09.
Cleveland has won 53 consecutive games against in-state competition and Stephenie was The Seattle Times all-state Coach of the Year this past season.
I hope to follow up with some comments from her. For now, here is the complete press release from Cleveland athletic director Annette Duvall:
“Stephenie Wheeler Smith has resigned as the Head Girls Basketball at Cleveland High School. Kelly Graves, the new Head Women’s Basketball at the University of Oregon extended the Director of Basketball Operations job to Stephenie recently. After a very long decision making process, Stephenie and her husband Derrick, who is also the Assistant Coach at Cleveland, decided to take this amazing opportunity. Stephenie will not have coaching responsibilities but be fully engrained in everything that happens as far as the team and staff is concerned. Considering the opportunities that Stephenie will be afforded, she couldn’t pass up this new journey.
Annette Duvall, Cleveland’s Athletic Director states that “Stephenie’s departure is a huge loss to Cleveland High School yet we are excited for her new opportunity. Stephenie, Derrick and the entire Girls Basketball coaching staff operated a first class program that focused on healthy team culture and intense, highly competitive basketball. Girls Basketball is the model athletic program at Cleveland’s which is testament to Stephenie’s outstanding leadership, clear vision and tremendous basketball knowledge. We wish Stephenie, Derrick and baby Judah all the best in their new adventure at the University of Oregon.”
Cleveland currently has a 53-0 win streak against teams in Washington State over a two year period. In five years, Stephenie led Cleveland Girls Basketball to three State Championships (2010, 2013 and 2014) and one third place finish (2012).
Cleveland will post the Head Girls Basketball job next week with a closing date of May 22nd. Applicants can apply on the Seattle Public School website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”