Scottsdale Christian will try to win 2A boys and girls basketball crowns with the same coach
Richard Obert, azcentral sports
Bob Fredericks has always been pretty good at multitasking.
But the master planner has never had so much going on at one time in his long, illustrious coaching career than now at Scottsdale Christian Academy.
Starting Friday, Fredericks will lead his No. 1-seeded boys basketball team in a first-round 2A tournament game at Yavapai College at 7:30 p.m.
But he’ll be in Prescott well ahead of his players. That’s because at noon, he’ll be coaching SCA’s No. 4-seeded girls team in the first round of the 2A girls tournament at Yavapai.
If both teams win, he won’t have any time between games on Saturday when the girls would play at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 in the quarterfinals at Yavapai College.
Good thing the Arizona Interscholastic Association set up the brackets so that Scottsdale Christian’s boys and girls will be playing at the same place, same day. He is used to that with girls playing before the boys on game days during the regular season.
“There are logistical issues of traveling with the two teams and things we had a plan for that worked well all year,” Fredericks said.
Both the boys and girls have difficult paths to the state finals. But if Scottsdale Christian pulls it off, and both hold up gold balls on Feb. 23 in Prescott Valley at the Findlay Toyota Center, Fredericks might be the first coach in Arizona history to win state basketball titles for both boys and girls on the same day.
The 2A girls final is Feb. 23 at 3 p.m., followed by the boys state championship at 5 p.m.
“I’m not sure how he’s done it, but he definitely still gives us on the guys side all of his focus and attention, as he has in past years, while still coaching a really talented girls team,” said senior forward Ethan Spry, who was named the 2A Metro Region Player of the Year. “Our assistant coaches also help you a lot with handled chunks of practice.”
There is a method to Fredericks’ madness.
“The main thing we’ve done is, instead of doing a whole pregame before the game with the boys,” Fredericks said. “We have a lunch meeting and I have it all prepared then. My two assistant coach, John Anderson and Paul Clark, two super-experienced, very knowledgeable assistants, who, since 2016, have taken over a lot of the teaching role in our program.
“They go back through that game plan while I’m coaching the girls on a normal night. That’s one of the ways we’ve managed it. Normally, I can’t debrief with the girls after a game, because they go right to the boys. So the girls have a debrief meeting the following day at lunch. It’s worked pretty well. The kids like it because there’s a lunch involved.”
Fredericks hasn’t done double duty with both the boys and girls basketball programs since the late 1990s. He was 41 then, and only had a couple of classes to teach, while being the athletic director.
He is 61 now, and is taking on teaching six classes this year, while leading both basketball programs.
With their children are now adults, Bob and his wife Gwen discussed how this might work out, before Bob committed to leading the girls team after girls coach Travis Hearn and the school parted ways over a difference in philosophies.
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“I must admit I was a little skeptical when he first presented the idea to me,” Gwen said. “However, he has managed his time well and we still seem to be able to go out on some weekends. I have gone to a few games with him when he needs to scout and that gives us time together.
“He also has very good assistant coaches in both programs so that helps him be able to get what he likes to get done.”
When Scottsdale Christian was at a crossroads and needed to find a girls coach, Bob felt it was important to step up and keep a core group of girls, led by senior point guard Kylie Hearn, together.
Travis Hearn, a pastor, coached Kylie all her life.
In 2016, Fredericks was The Arizona Republic’s Small Schools Boys Coach of the Year, and Hearn was The Republic‘s Small Schools Girls Coach of the Year.
“The girls were rightfully very close to the previous coach,” Fredericks said. “I thought some might leave the school, some might refuse to play, and it would be an uphill battle for any coach coming in. There were only eight girls in the program last year at the end of the year, and one was out for the year with an injury.
“The girls returning were all girls I thought I had a good relationship with in class and from going on a school, basketball-oriented missions trip to Alabama. I thought I would be a good bridge to whatever long-term future there was.
“To their credit, particularly to Kylie Hearn’s credit, she has been extremely coachable and embraced the situation. I think all of us would rather not had seen a parting of the ways. But once it happened, it was going to be too difficult for anybody new to the school. So I went to administration and asked and I was surprised when they said, ‘Go for it.’ ”
Kylie Hearn has prospered in Frederick’s system. She set a 2A record with 21 assists in a game.
“Coach Fredericks was like the perfect replacement,” said Kylie, the Metro Region girls Player of the Year, who signed for college with Point Loma University. “I love my dad and him coaching me. But Coach Fredericks has been great. He prioritizes our feelings. He was a big part of the team’s healing process. He did this for us.”
Fredericks said it’s been fun working with the girls, because they’ve been so attentive to the fundamentals of the game.
Fredericks said he believes he can do handle both programs next year.
“I think that’s fair to other coaches we’re grooming and fair to the girls who don’t have to go through a new system in two consecutive years,” he said. “I’m confident if the current assistants have a major role in whatever the future is, they’ll retain what we’ve put in this year.”
Fredericks’ day-to-day state schedule during state tournament
2-9-19: girls practice, 1-2:30 p.m.; 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., boys practice
2-11-19: girls practice, 3-4:30 p.m.; boys practice, 4:45-6:15 p.m.
2-12-19: girls practice, 4:45-6:15 p.m.; boys practice, 3-4:30 p.m.
2-13-19: girls practice, 3-4:30 p.m.; boys practice, 4:45-6:15 p.m.
2-14-19: girls practice, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; boys practice, 3-4:30 p.m.
2-15-19: girls, first-round game in Prescott, boys, first-round game in Prescott
2-16-19: if teams advance, Elite Eight in Prescott.
2-18-19: girls practice, noon-1:45 p.m.; boys practice, 2-3:45 p.m.
2-19-10: girls practice, 4:45-6:15; boys practice, 3-4:30
2-20-19: girls practice, 3-4:30; boys practice, 4:30-6
2-21-19: girls practice 4:20-5:40; boys practice, 3-4:20
2-22-19: girls final four in Prescott Valley; boys final four in Prescott Valley
2-23-19: girls state championship in Prescott Valley; boys state championship in Prescott Valley
To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.