A staple of the Bellevue region will no longer be leading the Bellevue Wolverines boys basketball program.
Chris O’Connor, who was the head coach of the Wolverines varsity basketball program for the past 12 seasons, resigned his coaching position in early May. Prior to landing the job at Bellevue before the 2006-07 season, O’Connor was the varsity head coach at his alma mater of Sammamish High School for four seasons.
“After 16 years, you put in about 30 hours a week of coaching high school basketball during the season, you got 40 hours a week doing your real job too. Over time, I just started to get a little tired and was ready for a change. I contemplated staying another four years to have an opportunity to coach my son but in the end I just kind of wanted a break and just enjoy being a dad. I will get to watch my kid play in high school,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said he and his family recently moved from the Eastside to Fall City. O’Connor’s son Bennett will be a freshman at Mount Si High School during the 2018-19 school year.
O’Connor, who works full time as a facilities director for a property management company, said he met with members of the Wolverines roster before making his decision public in May.
“I met with the team to let them know it was a family decision. I’m obviously going to miss coaching them but it was something I had to do for my family. They understood,” he said.
O’Connor’s two fondest memories in his 12 seasons at Bellevue occurred during the 2006-07 season and the 2010-11 campaign.
“My first year here (2006-07) we had an overachieving team and qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1963. We finished in fourth place at state. That was a fun year coaching a lot of great kids. I would say the other memory was getting to the state championship game in 2011 with a bunch of Bellevue kids who all grew up together since grade school,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor’s calm demeanor under duress is something he was known for during his coaching career with the Wolverines. His team’s personalities reflected that on the court.
“We always prided ourselves on playing the right way and playing together. We always had the philosophy that the star of the team is the team,” O’Connor said. “The kids bought into it. I was fortunate to have some pretty good players who were also very unselfish. They played together and they played hard, which made my job a lot easier.”