As he predicted, Tim Amundsen’s break from running a Central Section boys basketball program didn’t last long.
And the three-time section title-winning coach’s return to the bench happened even quicker than he expected because of an opening at one of the section’s elite schools.
Amundsen has been hired at Bullard High, where he will resume a successful career a little more than two years after stepping down at Central to spend more time with his family and get some minor health issues in check.
Amundsen replaces Jeff Schmidt, who led the Knights to Division I runner-up finishes in two of his three seasons before resigning to relocate to Colorado. Prior to that, Amundsen’s younger brother, Tony, coached Bullard to three D-I titles in five seasons before moving on to Clovis North.
“In my opinion, this is one of the top jobs in the section,” said Tim Amundsen, who was an assistant at Bullard under Schmidt last season. “And if I didn’t go for it, it might not open up for another 10 years. There’s already been success and history here that I’d like to continue.”
In my opinion, this is one of the top jobs in the section. And if I didn’t go for it, it might not open up for another 10 years. There’s already been success and history here that I’d like to continue.
When he left Central in 2014, Amundsen said he wanted to eventually return to running a varsity program, which demands a virtual year-round commitment.
But that didn’t figure to be this quick for the father of four, not with his middle daughter, Tess, heading into her senior season at Clovis West and youngest daughter, Laney, about to start eighth grade at Granite Ridge. His oldest daughter, Bailey, wrapped up her career at Fresno State in 2009 and only son, Nate, played one season at Concordia.
Amundsen, 49, the past two years coached both of his younger daughters’ AAU travel teams and was planning to closely follow Tess’ and Laney’s scholastic games before deciding he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to coach the Knights.
He said he will try to make as many games in person as his commitments to Bullard allow, and will watch games he misses on film with his daughters afterward.
“The timing is not perfect for me,” Amundsen said. “I had to think about this a little. I would have liked to be out one to two more years. But the more I talked with my family, they were all behind it. My daughters’ said, ‘Do it, and we’ll make it work.’ With that blessing, I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ ”
Bullard lands a coach with a 309-152 record and eight league titles over a 15-year career that includes four seasons at Hoover, nine at Clovis East and two at Central, according to section historian Bob Barnett. Amundsen won D-I titles in 2007, 2008 and 2010 while at Clovis East.
“He’s been a winner at every school he’s been at,” Bullard athletic director Brandon Gilbert said. “So for us, it was really a great fit.”
He’s been a winner at every school he’s been at. So for us, it was really a great fit.
Bullard athletic director Brandon Gilbert on the hiring of Tim Amundsen as the Knights’ boys basketball coach
All of the assistants who previously worked for Schmidt – Mike Villatini, Mike Ogden, Tyrone Jackson, Travis Johnson and Jason Paul – are set to remain at Bullard, which Amundsen said will make for a smooth transition process.
Amundsen said he plans to delegate to his staff much more than he has in the past and hopes perspective gained from watching other coaches during his two seasons away will help keep him healthy and happy.
“Hopefully, I’m a little smarter about how I coach things, and hopefully I enjoy it more,” Amundsen said. “You can go 31-3 on a season, and unfortunately as coaches, we focus on the three losses and not the 31 wins. I joke with other coaches that we focus on the negative way too much. We have to smell the roses more.”
Amundsen said he would eventually like to play his brother Tony’s Clovis North team on a yearly basis, likely starting in 2017-18 because the Knights’ nonleague schedule for the coming season is already set.