After leading a pair of successful programs at Pottsboro, Keith Bates has decided to step back during the coming school year.
Bates, who has served at his alma mater for decades, will no longer be the head coach for girls basketball and track. He will remain as a football assistant and shift into an assistant role for track.
“I just thought it was the time to do it,” Bates said. “Getting a little too old to do it year-round.”
Pottsboro’s recent run of girls basketball success included back-to-back trips to the region tournament in 2017 and 2018, which was the first region tourney appearances by the Lady Cardinals since 1996 to go with the program’s only other trip in 1990. Pottsboro made the region final in 2018 for the best season in school history.
Both times the Lady Cardinals were eliminated by Mount Vernon, which made state each season and was the 3A champion in 2018. Pottsboro was 33-5 for the 2017-18 season and ended with a 30-2 record the year prior while Bates was a finalist for the Class 3A Coach of the Year Award by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches for each campaign.
Pottsboro has made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, the start of which ended a seven-year playoff drought, and won five straight district championships from 2015-19.
The Lady Cardinals went 26-8 this past season, were the District 9-3A runner-up and reached the area round before losing against Mineola, coming up short of reaching the third round for the fourth time in six seasons.
Bates’ time as the head track coach has included a team state runner-up finish on the boys side in 2009, led by a pair of distance golds from Nathan Collier and a silver in the mile relay, the 2017 state championship in the mile relay, two straight 400 meter titles by John Hayes in 2010-11 and state runner-up finishes in 2017 by Olivia Zint in the 800 meters and Madeline O’Hanlon in the discus.
Bates is also a former standout athlete for the Cardinals and held the single-season tackle record of 204 during a 10-2 1981 season, according to pottsborofootball.com, until this past season when Zach Wideman broke the mark with 206 as Pottsboro went 15-1 and was the Class 3A Division I runner up.
It was the best season in school history and Bates has been an assistant for some of the program’s best moments, including the Cardinals making the state semifinals in 2008 and finishing 13-2.
Bates had already been in a defensive assistant role when head football coach Matt Poe took over starting with the 2006 season and has remained on the staff through this past fall as part of a program that has won at least 10 games eight times in those 14 seasons.