Skyline coach looks to make basketball more competitive
June 17, 2014
By Neil Pierson
The Skyline High School boys basketball program has reached the state tournament twice in its 17 seasons of existence, something Bill McIntyre will be looking to change as he takes over as head coach for the 2014-15 season.
McIntyre was hired this spring after former coach Maui Borden’s contract wasn’t renewed. Borden had a 13-24 overall record in two seasons, including 8-22 in conference games.
McIntyre has strong ties to the Skyline community, having coached at the youth level for the Skyline Select program from 1998-2011. For the past two seasons, he served as an assistant under head coach Omar Parker at Liberty High School.
It’s McIntyre’s first head-coaching gig at the high-school level, but he said he has no reason to believe he won’t be successful. He has already coached many of Skyline’s players, either at the select level or at Pine Lake Middle School.
“I know most of the kids and their parents, and that’s a huge advantage as a new coach,” McIntyre said. “So, I don’t feel like there are any huge challenges, outside of our opponents, to be honest.”
McIntyre experienced a similar rebuilding situation at Liberty, where the Patriots have gone 17-31 the past two years.
Skyline will likely benefit from reclassification changes this year as Class 4A state champion Garfield leaves the KingCo Conference along with Ballard and Roosevelt. Still, there’s plenty of quality opposition, including 2014 state runner-up Issaquah and perennial powerhouse Bothell.
“It’s a competitive conference,” McIntyre conceded. “But I think Skyline, as a school, has been pretty competitive in most sports.”
He called his time at Liberty invaluable, noting Parker coached for a decade at the college level with Boise State, Washington State and Missouri.
McIntyre hasn’t chosen any assistants yet, although he said he has a number of people helping with the Spartans’ busy summer schedule, and he expects to name a staff once he’s had a chance to properly evaluate candidates.
Skyline has about three-dozen players participating in summer drills, meaning it can field three full teams. McIntyre said the team will play in the Auburn Summer League, and he’s also lined up three weekend tournaments, a team camp at Central Washington University, and some scrimmages against nonconference opponents later in the summer.
“There’s really only three or four days in the month of June that we don’t have some sort of basketball activity,” he noted.
Skyline’s varsity squad will likely include a lot of juniors this winter, and McIntyre said he wouldn’t be surprised if at least one freshman earns a spot.
The new coach said he’s looking at two seniors, in particular, to lead a turnaround: Drew Stender, who has shown some solid leadership qualities, and Robert Biegaj, an athletic guard/forward who averaged 14 points per game last season.
“I think he’s a transformational basketball player,” McIntyre said of Biegaj. “I think the conference is going to find out just how special of a basketball player he is.
“I have every expectation that he’ll be first-team all-conference, if not Player of the Year. I think he’s that good.”