Coming off the best record in school history, the Gunter boys basketball team will have a new head coach.
The first change for the program in 15 years was announced at the Gunter ISD school board meeting Monday night when Sean Vansell was hired to build on the Tigers' recent run of success as they move into a new district.
“He comes highly recommended. We are so excited for Coach Vansell to lead our boys basketball program,” Gunter athletic director Jake Fieszel said. “After visiting with him and those who have worked with him, it became apparent that he is a man of character and conviction as well as an excellent basketball coach.”
Vansell takes over for Lonnie Scott, who decided to retire from coaching and teaching. Scott had been the head boys basketball coach since 2005 and was one of the longest-tenured employees in the athletic department.
“My family and I are more than excited and blessed to be a part of the amazing Gunter community. I can’t wait to begin working with students and parents, and for the excellent leadership in Gunter ISD,” Vansell said. “It is an honor to be chosen to lead an excellent basketball program and invest in all Gunter student-athletes.”
Relying on seven seniors, the Tigers set the program record for victories this past year, finished third in District 9-3A and were 27-8 after an area-round loss against defending state champion Dallas Madison, which returned to the 3A title game when the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It broke Gunter’s single-season mark for wins that had been previously set during the 1994-95 campaign when the Tigers reached the region semifinals — which was the last time Gunter advanced past the second round.
Under Scott, Gunter qualified for the playoffs nine times, including four appearances in the last five seasons, and made it to the second round four times — 2020, 2017, 2012 and 2011.
Vansell has spent the last five seasons as a varsity assistant at Lovejoy, helping the Leopards to playoff appearances the past three years. He also guided the junior varsity team to the district title in 2019 and 2020.
He was a middle school assistant in the Lovejoy ISD, where he was named the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Middle School Coach of the Year in 2013, for three years prior to moving up to the high school and began his coaching career with one season as an assistant coach at Guthrie (Okla.) when the program made the state semifinals in 2012.
“Seth has been a consistent winner with all of his teams. He’s a great leader and developer of leaders,” Lovejoy head coach Kyle Herrema said. “Without a doubt, he is one of the most mature coaches I’ve been around. On top of it all, he’s an outstanding role model.”
Gunter will spend the next two years in District 11-3A with Bells, Howe, Pottsboro, Whitewright, Blue Ridge, Bonham and Leonard.