Boys High School Basketball

Another Idaho basketball coaching legend calls it a career after 500 wins

Bob Lenz led Melba to the only boys basketball state title in program history in 2011.
Bob Lenz led Melba to the only boys basketball state title in program history in 2011. Idaho Statesman file

After 41 years on the sidelines, Melba’s Bob Lenz is hanging up his coaching whistle.

Lenz stepped down as the Mustangs boys basketball after 20 years Monday, and he also resigned as the school’s counselor Tuesday as he eyes his retirement.

“I’m 65 and the clock is ticking,” said Lenz, who compiled a career record of 547-464 (.541). “It’s time to do something different.”

Lenz took over Melba in 1998-99 after coaching 21 years in Alaska. He led the Mustangs to five district championships and 10 trips to the 2A state tournament. Melba won five state trophies under Lenz, including a second-place finish in his first season and the only state title in program history in 2011.

“When I took this job over, I didn’t have to worry about boys basketball whatsoever,” second-year Melba Athletic Director Casey Clark said. “He’s set the standard for what a coach is expected to do, and the way he runs his program from top to bottom is what I’d like to see from everyone.”

Bob Lenz mug
Bob Lenz

Lenz downplayed his accomplishments. When he won his 500th game in 2015, it took his son and longtime assistant David Lenz to spread the word of the milestone. David Lenz is now the Melba girls basketball coach, and his brother Dennis serves as his assistant.

“When you’ve coached for 41 years, you ought to win a few games,” Lenz joked. “I don’t know how good of a record that is.”

Lenz is the latest longtime basketball coach in the Treasure Valley to resign. Rocky Mountain girls basketball coach Emery Roy and Middleton girls basketball coach Andy Jones both stepped down March 5. The duo won a combined 1,191 games and 15 state titles.

Lenz said his favorite memories include the relationship he’s built with players, coaches and referees over the years. He said he considered retiring from basketball a couple years ago but couldn’t walk away from the players.

“I just loved to be around the kids,” Lenz said. “They kept me young for a long time, and that was definitely the hardest part to give up.”

With his full retirement looming, Lenz said he doesn’t have any immediate plans and isn’t quite sure what to do with himself.

“I’m sure I’m going to do my wife’s honey-do list,” he joked. “I’ve got five acres and most of it is weeds, so I’ve got plenty to do.”

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama