College of Idaho men’s basketball assistant coach Jeff Lavender will take over the New Plymouth boys basketball program next season, the Pilgrims announced Thursday.
Lavender coached the past four seasons with the College of Idaho. He previously spent 19 years as a high school head coach in California, compiling a 335-183 record between San Marcos and Santa Barbara, two schools that would compete in Idaho’s 5A classification.
“The fact that he has so much experience, and part of that experience is at the college level, we’re very fortunate to get him,” New Plymouth Athletic Director Denise Oliver said.
Lavender replaces Mark Van Weerdhuizen, who stepped down earlier this month to focus on his family and his new job as the district’s technology director.
“It’s requiring a lot more of my time, and I didn’t feel like I could give the kids the time they required,” Van Weerdhuizen said. “I put a lot of time in last year, and I didn’t want to put my family through that anymore.”
Under Van Weerdhuizen, 32, New Plymouth went 116-103 in nine seasons, won five district titles, reached the 2A state tournament five times and finished as the state runner-up in 2011 and 2013.