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Hale steps down as Jordan hoops coach

After 29 years and just 11 wins shy of 400, Hal Hale stepped down as the head basketball coach at Jordan High School Thursday morning.

"Hal did a great job for us," Jordan athletic director Marc Hunter said.

Overall, Hale coached at Jordan High for 31 years, the first two years as an assistant.

In nearly three decades, the Beetdiggers won the state championship in 1984 and made a total of four semifinal appearances. The Beetdiggers made the state playoffs in 28 of Hale's 29 years as head coach.

"I didn't plan on coaching at the beginning, but I don't have any regrets," Hale said. "I felt like it's been a great experience. I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people — administration, coaches and players."

Just this year, Hale, who played collegiately at Utah State and professionally for the ABA's Houston Mavericks before serving a tour as a medic in Vietnam, guided the Beetdiggers to a second-place finish.

In the state tournament, Jordan beat Northridge, West Jordan and Bingham before falling to Alta, 65-53.

Hale had a uncanny ability to get the best out of his players, Hunter said. Even when times were difficult, like this year with myriad illness and injuries, his teams were successful.

The 'Diggers finished the year 15-9 overall and finished third in Region 2 with a 8-6 record.

Hale will maintain his positions as a teacher and head tennis coach.

"It's been meaningful when they (ex-players) say what an impact it's been on their lives," Hale said. "That's the biggest plus of coaching."

Hunter said the position is now open and applications are being accepted. For more information contact Jordan principal Marilyn Richards or Hunter at 256-5500. Deadline for applications is April 4.


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com