Tom Parrish has stepped down as Hanford High's girls basketball coach after a highly successful eight-year run that ended in national controversy.
Parrish officially resigned hours after a Bee account of the Bullpups getting left out of the CIF Southern California Regional championships got national exposure on a Yahoo! Sports Internet post, Hanford Athletic Director Beau Hill said Thursday.
"No one wants to go out with a situation like this, but I thanked him for all his hard work. He and (assistant) Dennis Seargent did a great job rebuilding girls basketball at Hanford High. And they did all that work for not a lot of pay, just for the love of the sport and to try and make the girls better."
Hanford, state ranked a week ago, saw its streak of seven consecutive SoCal Regional appearances end Sunday because of a messy web of emotion, confusion and misunderstanding.
Following a 57-39 road loss to second-seeded Clovis West in the Central Section Division I semifinals -- and while still angered his Bullpups received the third seed rather than the No. 1 for the second consecutive year -- Parrish told reporters he wouldn't go to the regionals even if invited.
So section Commissioner Jim Crichlow didn't nominate Hanford for an at-large berth, even though he said the Bullpups easily could have been a "fifth, sixth or seventh seed" in the regional Division I bracket.
"If I could take that statement back, we probably wouldn't be going through this," Parrish said. "But who would have thought the seeding committee would take that seriously."
Parrish said the fallout from the Yahoo blog -- which has sparked message-board ridicule and calls and emails to Hanford administrators from across the country -- accelerated his decision to resign, which he said was a 90% certainty even before the controversy.
The three-time Bee Coach of the Year wanted to spend more time watching his daughter play college basketball. Madison Parrish, who spent her freshman season at Fresno State and this season at Fresno City, has signed with the University of the Pacific.
"With all this going down, it's obvious that I need to go," Parrish said. "I don't think there is much of a choice to it."
Parrish went 197-47 (.807 winning percentage) and won five section titles in three divisions.
"I never got into coaching to break records or thought: OK, we'll go win a bunch of Valley titles," Parrish said. "I got into coaching because I really wanted to help kids attain their goal of getting to college."
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