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Cowell calls it quits at Grants Pass

GRANTS PASS ' Bill Cowell stepped down as boys basketball coach at Grants Pass High on Wednesday after 10 seasons with the team.

Cowell cited family reasons as the motive for leaving his post.

I've been thinking about it for a while, said Cowell, who will continue to teach social studies at the high school. It's the right thing to do right now.

I've been doing this for 26 years, 21 as a head coach. It'll be a good break and give me time to watch my sons.

Cowell's three sons are all involved in sports. His oldest son, Matt, will be a junior next year on the Southern Oregon University basketball team, while Billy Cowell will graduate this spring from Grants Pass and Mike Cowell is a wrestler for the Cavemen.

— I just wanted more of a chance to watch the boys, said Bill Cowell. Billy's graduating and I wanted to watch Matt play more over at SOU and watch Mike wrestle here. It was just time.

While with the Cavemen, Cowell compiled a 179-83 overall record and a 103-41 mark in the Southern Oregon Conference. He won a share of the conference crown last season and in 2000.

Cowell led Grants Pass to eight state-playoff berths and back-to-back trophies at the Class 4A state tournament (sixth place in 2001 and fourth in 2002).

His teams went 49-9 over those two seasons and were ranked as high as No. 2 in the state.

I've been lucky enough to have an awesome staff and some pretty good players over the years, said Cowell. They've been great for all 10 years.

This season, Grants Pass went 17-10 and took second in the SOC at 11-3.

The Cavemen came within one game of the eight-team state tournament, losing for the second straight season on a last-second shot in the third round of the playoffs.

Grants Pass loses all-SOC post Jason Nunnemaker and guard Austin Wiersma to graduation, but returns Shane Mahr, Buddy Saxon and Craig Dolmage for Cowell's successor.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483 or e-mail Cowell calls it quits at Grants Pass"kgoff@mailtribune.com.