Steve Noteboom has played plenty of roles in Hood River basketball over the last decade: assistant varsity coach, JV coach, freshman coach, youth coach, middle school traveling coach, president of the Hood River Youth Basketball Association.
Now he will be playing THE ROLE, varsity boys basketball coach at Hood River Valley High School.
Noteboom was hired on as the HRV head man Monday, succeeding Zach Pauls and taking over a team that went winless in the Columbia River Conference last season.
"I'm probably as familiar as anyone with Hood River basketball over the last 15 years," Noteboom said. "I've seen quite a lot of coaches - some of whom had success and some of whom struggled - and I've learned from all of them."
Before stepping aside to coach the Hood River area middle school traveling team last season, Noteboom had previously been on the Hood River Valley staff as freshman coach.
As head coach he intends to drill down on defense.
"I have three priorities," he said. "Defense, passing and rebounding."
He'll have a tall order next year taking over a team that won just two games last season and graduated leading scorer Chris Dirks. Noteboom had actually been tasked by HRV Athletic Director Keith Bassham to develop a summer program during the coaching search until a replacement for Pauls was found. Now Noteboom will have the chance to implement that program.
"Steve is familiar with the program and has high expectations but he also knows we are in a flux year in a tough league," Bassham said.
Bassham said what helped Noteboom stand apart in the end was his understanding of coaching, the local basketball scene and his ability to interact with student-athletes.
"We needed to make sure we got someone who has a good relationship with the kids," Bassham said. "A lot of people out there can coach basketball but you also have to have a good relationship with kids and have clear expectations."
Although Pauls resigned in early March, the coaching search did not get going at full speed until recently. Budget and staffing cuts left the school unsure what teaching positions or salary they could offer potential candidates. In the end no staff positions were available, and HRV found its candidate in-house.
With the process to find a coach taking so long, Noteboom will now have very little time to get up-to-speed.
He was already on the job Monday afternoon putting potential varsity players for next year through their paces and has been trying to find games for summer league play.
"I'll be playing around with a motion offense during the summer," he said. "If you can run a good motion offense it is hard to scout and prepare for."
With the Eagles trying to rebuild and get back to the state playoffs for the first time since 1994 Noteboom said a key will be keeping young players interested in basketball and getting more to turn out.
"If we can carry a positive experience into high school (for younger kids) that's much better," Noteboom said. "We have to do a better job with the kids ... It's our responsibility to provide a positive atmosphere for these kids. They are watching basketball on TV and have an interest in it and we've got to keep it going."
Noteboom said he intends to set high expectations for his team, and doesn't intend to give an inch in a tough four-team league.
"I think we're going to be competitive," he said. "If the kids stick with it, buy in and are good citizens in the classroom, we'll be fine."