Armstrong steps down as Battle Ground basketball coach

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor

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When the energy and passion were no longer there, Wes Armstrong knew it was time to step away.

Armstrong resigned as head coach of the Battle Ground boys basketball team after four seasons on Wednesday.

“It’s time to take a step back and find what’s next,” he said. “It takes a toll. If I’m not enjoying it, then the kids won’t enjoy it.”

Armstrong went 17-9 in his first season. Battle Ground reached the state tournament that year, losing to eventual champion Garfield in the regional round.

But Battle Ground has gone 14-25 over the past two seasons. The Tigers went 6-12 last season, including 1-7 in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

For Armstrong, it was never about wins and losses.

“It’s more about the relationships I’ve built,” he said. “I coached fantastic young men that are going to go on to great things in life.”

In recent days, Armstrong said he had honest and supportive conversations with Battle Ground athletic director Matt Stanfill.

Ultimately, he decided to step away.

Armstrong said coaching at Battle Ground involves unique challenges. He said the lack of middle school sports in that school district hampers high school programs at both Battle Ground and Prairie.

“We were trying to build a program that had a blue-collar attitude,” he said. “Largely, I think we were able to do that.”

Armstrong has been in coaching since 1993. He was previously the head basketball coach at Port Angeles and Rainier, Ore., and an assistant at R.A. Long

Armstrong isn’t sure if he’ll coach again. His short-term focus is on spending more time with his family, including his son who is a seventh grader.

Armstrong broke the news in an online statement on Wednesday.

“I feel this is the right time for me to step back and let a new coach with a new vision take control of the program,” Armstrong wrote. “I have been extremely grateful to have coached a great group of young men the past four years and will never forget my time here in Tiger Nation.”