Sports Stories

Kirk Westervelt is stepping down as head coach of the Sedona Red Rock High School boys basketball team after one season in charge.

Westervelt helped guide the Scorpions to a 20-10 overall record and 5-3 in the Central Region, tying for first place and earning a berth to the Arizona Interscholastic Association 2A State Championship.

But he is not leaving basketball altogether; he will join as an assistant for the high school girls team and be the head coach at Sedona Red Rock Junior High School.

Assistant coach Paul Bain, who was equally important in the Scorpions’ success the past season according to Westervelt, will take over the head coaching position.

“If they were not in good hands I would not step down,” Westervelt said. “I don’t think the boys know how good of hands they’re in. But he’s going to train them hard.”

Westervelt’s main reasoning for leaving the position is the busy schedule that comes with being a head coach and running his own dental practice.

“It’s bittersweet but I’ll be able to watch,” Westervelt said.

Despite having taken over just a couple of months before the season’s start, Westervelt was satisfied with how the team played. His main goal was to change the team’s identity, getting them to compete hard and play a tougher style.

“The only thing I cared about was, A, if they competed,” Westervelt said. “The fans said that the style of basketball was great. I felt like we played the game the right way. We didn’t try to show anyone up.”

More than any big win or big shot, what he takes away from his season at the helm came on senior night, a 49-46 loss to Glendale Preparatory Academy.

“On senior night, even though we lost the game, they said ‘Hey, they [Bain and Westervelt] believed in us and took over when no one else was around to pick up the pieces from the year before,’” Westervelt said.

What was challenging to him was getting the team to believe in themselves, as well as the boys challenging him, too.

“We said that we would play a tough brand of basketball, after the first games they mentally got over that hump,” Westervelt said. “Them challenging me more as a coach. Sometimes you’ve got to listen to them, be flexible.”