Union hires new boys basketball coach

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

A basketball coach takes over a young program, and then that program goes on long playoff runs that result in trophies at state tournaments.

Sounds a lot like a Union High School coach.

Blake Conley, 28, has been hired as the new boys basketball coach at Union, leaving Kingston High School after four successful seasons.

“I’m really excited to be a Titan,” Conley said. “It’s a dream job.”

Interestingly, Kingston and Union opened the same school year, 2007-08. Kingston went 1-38 in its first two years before Conley took over in the third year.

In his first season, the team won 13 games. The next two, the Buccaneers placed third in the Class 2A Washington state tournament.

Conley will replace Maco Hamilton, who led the Titans to three trophies at state in their first six seasons of existence, including the Class 3A state championship in 2010. Hamilton resigned to become the head coach at George Fox University.

“Only a handful of jobs that we would have uprooted our family and leave for, and Union was one of them,” Conley said. “The timing worked out for us.”

Cale Piland, Union’s athletic director, said Conley had several recommendations and has a proven track record.

“Third in state in two of the four years he’s been a head coach really speaks to his ability to run a program at a very high level,” Piland said.

Conley said he was impressed when he visited the school, with Union’s “vision for athletics,” the support from the administration, and the fact that most of the coaches are teachers in the building.

Conley will be an English teacher at Union.