Crater hires Broaddus to lead boys basketball program
The checklist might have been long for Brian Broaddus to find the right situation to get back into coaching boys basketball, but there was most certainly a way to get there.
And it just so happened that Crater fit the bill.
Broaddus, who most recently was a head coach for the girls basketball team at La Pine High School from 2018-2020, has been hired to lead the Comets after Chris Schmerbach stepped down in the middle of June.
“My wife and I, we had about a dozen things that would have to check off for us to move,” Broaddus said. “We have family here (in Bend), and it would have to be the right job and perfect fit. Crater checked all the right boxes and then some. It’s just amazing how it all started to fall into place and work out.”
What kind of boxes were checked?
“We were looking for a one-high school town, Crater’s in the best Class 5A league in the state without a doubt,” said Broaddus, a father of three. “I’m super competitive and the athletic director there is phenomenal and we clicked. (Crater) just seems like a great fit for our family, the right time and the right place, and we’re pretty excited.”
Broaddus has head coaching experience in Oregon, Idaho and Nevada, with a résumé that was impossible for Crater athletic director David Heard to look past.
“I would say the No. 1 thing would be his experience at the boys high school level,” said Heard, adding that there were a total of six applicants for the job. “He has a lot of experience at a lot of different places. I think it’s a good fit for us — he wants to be in our community, he has a young son he wants to raise here so I feel good about him staying.
“I was particularly impressed with his ideas about game coaching because at the high school level we don’t get to choose our players,” Heard added. “I think he has a lot of experiences with big kids, no big kids and how to handle different situations.”
Broaddus was the boys basketball coach at Mountain View from 2015-2018, a short yet incredibly successful tenure where he led the school to fourth, second and seventh place finishes at the Class 5A state tournament.
While never coaching against Crater at the state tournament, Broaddus saw first-hand what Schmerbach was able to get rolling with the Comets. Broaddus also has experience in the Midwestern League, previously serving as an assistant coach at Churchill High School in Eugene.
During his time at Mountain View, however, Broaddus experienced two personal tragedies within the span of two years, first losing his best friend who was also an assistant coach under him at the age of 34 and then seeing his 70-year-old father pass away 3 ½ years ago.
“The combination of the two just rocked my world and I had a tough time with it for a while, so I stepped away from coaching at that level,” Broaddus said. “I did some other things, but I kind of got through that time period and the healing process and I still had the itch and the urge and the competitiveness to get back into that high level. It was just the right situation and the right time, I think.”
Schmerbach developed Crater into one of the best programs in the state during his tenure as head coach. The Comets advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in program history in 2018, then again in 2020 only to have the 5A tournament shut down as a result of COVID-19 concerns.
Prior to its run to the 5A semifinals in 2020, Crater also finished fourth and fifth at the state tournament under Schmerbach, who also brought stability to the Crater boys basketball program. Upon being hired in 2015, Schmerbach was the Comets’ sixth head coach over the course of an eight-year span.
Schmerbach finished with an 89-53 record during his time at Crater.
“Chris was great. He’s a very humble guy. He’s done a great job and really rose and built that program to a 5A power,” Broaddus said. “It’s big shoes to fill, to try and do as well as he did.”
Broaddus and Schmerbach, who first got to know one another when they crossed paths at the state tournament in Corvallis, will both be teachers at Scenic Middle School in the fall.
“He thinks he’s getting away from basketball, but he’s not. I’m still going to be hounding him,” Broaddus quipped. “I’m sure I can bounce things and ideas off of him all the time.”
Broaddus doesn’t describe himself as a system coach, but rather one that is open to adjusting to the personnel that he has at his disposal.
He described his approach as somebody who wants to “try to hide the weaknesses, promote the strengths and put kids in the best situation they can be successful.”
“I’m big on floor spacing and movement,” Broaddus said. “I know they’ve had some great 3-point shooters, and the game has progressed to a lot more 3-point shots and attempts than it used to be. If a 6-foot-10 back-to-the-basket post rolls into town and wants to play, then you might want to slow it down to get the ball into the big guy. But it depends on the players you have.”
Heard, a former girls basketball coach at Crater himself, said he talked with people who had coached with and against Broaddus, and the echoing sentiment of his coaching skills within a game was important to the athletic director.
“He has an understanding of community,” added Heard. “He was at Mountain View, he was at Pendleton — those are communities very similar to ours. He’s been at the 5A level, he’s been at the 6A level and he knows what it takes. He’s been around. So, it was kind of a slam dunk for me.”
Reach Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.