For a program with a losing tradition, Stadium High School might have found the successful coach it needs to turn around the Tigers boys basketball team – Gil Rigell.
The Tigers hired Rigell, 49, on Wednesday to replace Dave Jones, who resigned after five seasons for family reasons.
Stadium won a combined five games in the Narrows 4A League the past five years, and has not posted a winning record since 2001 (14-11).
Rigell knows about winning. In 10 seasons as the Pacific Lutheran women’s basketball coach, the Lakes High graduate won 196 games and led the Lutes to five Northwest Conference titles and six national-tournament appearances.
But at the end of the 2007 season, Rigell’s contract was not renewed by PLU. Since then, he has been an instructor at the Tacoma Lawn and Tennis Club, which is a few blocks away from Stadium High.
“After my experiences at PLU, I did not think I would want to coach basketball again – the end of it left a poor taste in my mouth for a lot of reasons,” Rigell said. “But I have to thank Aaron Park and Jake Beardemphl (two Stadium students associated with the tennis club) – they recruited me back into the game.”
Rigell has coached boys basketball before at Lakes High in 1993-94 after a successful run as Lancers girls coach, before enrolling as a student at PLU.
“He’s had that experience … and his presentation (in the interview) was one of confidence. It showed knowledge of the game. It showed attention to detail. And he came across as very competitive,” Stadium athletic director Jim Catalinich said. “And, of course, his record was impressive at PLU.”
Stadium finished with a 3-17 record last season, and second-to-last in the Narrows 4A. But the Tigers do return a big group of seniors, led by all-league performers Eric Anderson-Connolly and Corey Glackin-Coley.
Rigell will not be a full-time school employee. He will retain his tennis instructor position at Tacoma Lawn and Tennis Club.
“I have been a coach at a higher level. I have been around, know the game and I feel very confident in what has happened in my career as a basketball coach,” Rigell said. “I hope to bring that same model to Stadium.”