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Master of the Lady Mustangs resigns

• Sugarman won seven conference titles over 13 years; Waldeck takes over

Posted: June 20, 2008 1:57 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Sugarman

 

Ken Sugarman is putting down his whistle and getting into the world of endoscopes and high definition video
towers.

The Master's College women's basketball coach, stepped down after 13 years on the job, including a school record 28-win season in 1998-99 and again in 2005-06, to pursue a job in medical sales.

"I got too good of a job to turn down," said Sugarman, who along with his wife Nancy and two sons, is moving back to his hometown of Yakima, Wash. "My wife and I had been interested in going back home at some point, and a great opportunity came and it was the right time."

Longtime assistant, Dan Waldeck, who was at Sugarman's side for 12 years and spent another year as an assistant before Sugarman's arrival, was named as his successor.

"There's nobody that's more prepared than he is to be the head coach," Sugarman said. Waldeck will have a lot to live up to.

Sugarman won 20 or more games and led the Lady Mustangs to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament seven times, including the last four years, and scored two Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Championships.

"I think 99 percent of what I've learned as a basketball coach has come from him," Waldeck said. "He's been a huge role model for me."

Since he took over in 1995, Sugarman rebuilt the program into a perennial contender.

In 2001-02, the Mustangs had a 24-game winning streak and were ranked as high as No. 4 nationally among NAIA schools.

In 2005-06, the women's basketball team became the first TMC athletic team to reach the NAIA Final Four.

Sugarman didn't leave the shelf barren either. TMC had no seniors on a team that went 21-12 last season and made the NAIA National Tournament.

"I always said if I ever was going to leave I wanted to leave the program in a position of strength," Sugarman said.

Though it's his first head coaching job, Waldeck often ran practices and coached in some games.

When Sugarman informed him of his decision to leave, Waldeck was surprised but not shocked. Sugarman wanted to move closer to his family and Waldeck was ready to finally be the head man.

Waldeck and Sugarman designed The Master's offense and worked closely on the defense during their time together, so Waldeck doesn't expect to adjust the basic principles of the program.

"What we've been able to do has been very successful so I'm not going to make wholesale changes, Waldeck said. "We'll make a few adjustments here and there."

At times, not having Sugarman by his side will feel awkward, Waldeck said, but familiarity with the program and the players will make the transition easier.

"I'm thrilled," Waldeck said. "I feel comfortable because I'm at a university I've been at with players that I've coached."

The toughest part of leaving for Sugarman is the people he is going to miss. The players, the staff, and his coaching colleagues.

"It's bittersweet to some extent just because leaving the people is the hardest part," he said.

And he'll miss the competition too. But not necessarily the games.

"A lot of coaches say it's about the game but I love practice, I loved to see the improvement and the light bulb click.

As for getting back into coaching at some point? It may happen, but at a slightly different level.

"I don't know, my next coaching gig might be coaching my sons," Sugarman said.

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