MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

May 8, 2012

A change at Sequoyah: Lady Indians basketball coach accepts similar position at Porter

— On the surface, an 0-23 record does not appear to be appealing.

But Bill Nobles is looking beyond that as he takes over the Porter High School girls basketball program after nine seasons at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah.

The 51-year-old Nobles said he received the official notice of his approval as the Lady Pirates’ coach by the Porter Board of Education on Monday in a text message from high school principal/athletic director Larry Shackleford. Nobles had resigned earlier from Sequoyah.

Sequoyah had a 191-55 record and won three Class 3A state championships under Nobles. Class 2A Porter, on the other hand, went winless this past season.

“To me, it’s not about the size of the school but it’s more about school environment. Porter showed a lot of interest in me and it seems like a great place to work,” Nobles said.

Nobles said the situation had changed at Sequoyah, where he had chosen to stay over the years while turning down offers from Class 6A Yukon and Southmoore and Anadarko, which this past season won the 4A state championship.

“The school is moving in a different direction. That’s what the people voted for and wanted. That’s fine,” he said, alluding also to the broader political changes in the Cherokee Nation. “I just feel it may be the time for me to go. I’m not going to dish any dirt on anybody.”

Sequoyah athletic director Larry Grigg said Nobles was not forced out and that he hasn’t talked to Nobles since he found out the coach was leaving.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it, but he told our administration that he was taking another job,” Grigg said. “I haven’t talked to my superintendent as I was gone to the state track meet (in Ardmore last Friday). I know (Nobles) told his kids that he wouldn’t be back.”

Grigg, though, said he would be interested in taking over the Lady Indians’ program again. He coached the girls in 1998-2001.

“I relish the chance to take them back over,” he said. “I have some interest in it. A lot of the kids in basketball I also coach in slowpitch softball."

Last week, Grigg's slowpitch team won the 5A championship in Oklahoma City.

The situation at Porter doesn’t look bleak to Nobles. He sees better days ahead.

“It’s not about instant gratification,” he said. “It’s a situation we can improve on and I have faith in my abilities. I’m not a miracle worker and I’m not Red Auerbach (the famed Boston Celtics’ coach). The situation’s all fixable at Porter. It’s a matter of teaching the game. I love to do that and Porter gives me that opportunity.”

Shackleford doesn’t hide his excitement about getting Nobles to be in charge of the girls basketball program.

“With his credentials, we’re glad to have someone of his caliber and experience,” Shackleford said. “We realize the program’s been down for a couple of years. But before that, they were winning 20 games in a season. There are challenges ahead but I think he was pleasantly surprised after he left and that he had the same feelings about us as we had about him.”

Nobles has a career head coaching record of 211-75 over 11 seasons that also includes stops Oklahoma  City Capitol Hill and Wetumka. He also had been an assistant at Oklahoma City Southeast.

At Sequoyah, he also led the Lady Indians to four area championships, an area consolation championship and nine district titles. The Lady Indians haven’t been past the quarterfinals since 2008 when Millwood beat Sequoyah 63-60 in the championship game, denying his program an unprecedented fourth girls state championship.

He said Ada, Ardmore along with Northwest Classen and John Marshall in Oklahoma City were other high schools that showed interest in hiring him.

But Nobles didn’t want to leave the area.

“It was really a big deal to keep my family in Tahlequah,” Nobles said. “My daughter is going to be a junior in high school next year. I still want to be around my church. My wife and daughter come first and that’s a big deal for me. I’ve got friends here.”

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