Walk into the Redmond High School gymnasium and you’ll see a banner with the number 11 and the name Maarty Leunen hung up in the rafters.
Leunen won a state basketball title with Redmond in 2003 and played for the University of Oregon before being drafted and playing overseas.
Now, he is a head basketball coach in the city of Redmond. but not for the Panthers. It’s for the cross-town rivals, Ridgeview High School.
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“Obviously, it’ll be a different feeling. But at the same time, you know, there are no hard feelings between what’s going on right now,” said Leunen. “Obviously, we look forward to the opportunity playing against them, especially with the connection I have with Ragan and the program before I know a lot of those players, but you know nothing that I’ll circle on the calendar.”
“Establishing the culture and the goals of what I see that this program can do,” he added. “Getting everybody to buy in between the parents, players, the staff members is very big for any successful team organization. So that’s something I really want to establish from the beginning.”
Not an easy decision for Leunen, but he says after a few nights of restless sleep, it was clear.
“The deeper I kind of dug into it, basketball is my passion,” Leunen said. “That’s what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be coaching. My sons are starting to come up through the high school ranks, so I wanted to be highly involved and, you know, at the end of the day, it’s all about the community of Redmond and, you know, giving the support back to the community.”
Leuenen says he is focusing on players, parents, and staff buying into what the program can become.
“It starts now,” he said. “Starting to meet the team. I know a lot of kids are active in other sports, which is awesome, but we’ve got summer ball here in June, where hopefully I can implement all the ideas that I have and start building the program.”
Leunen has been an assistant coach at Redmond High these last few years, helping the Panthers reach the state playoffs and end the year ranked in the top 5 in back-to-back seasons.
One big change the Redmond basketball camp he’s run for the last decade, which saw 120 kids sign up next year, will now be held at Ridgeview High.