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Canby Cougars boys basketball coach Craig Evans will step down after 12 years with the program, he announced this week, saying he wishes to “take a break” from high school coaching and spend more time with family.
“For the past 12 years my family has grown up in the Canby High School gym,” Evans said in a public Facebook post Tuesday night. “I have so many memories and love built up over those years.
“I love all my players, coaches and opponents that have come through those doors. I will cherish all of the time I was able to spend in there. Thank you for all the memories.”
Evans, who took over the head coaching position in 2011 following the departure of Dane Walker, posted 107 career wins in his time with the Cougars and made the playoffs since times: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020 and 2022.
The Cougars posted an 8-8 record during the Covid-shortened 2021 campaign — a tally that would have also landed them in the postseason had it not been canceled due to the pandemic.
Also a CTE and business teacher at Canby High School, Evans finished his career on a high note. The program posted at least 10 wins in two of his last three years — and likely would have done so in 2021 if the team had played a full 24-to-28-game season.
In his final season, which finished with a close loss to the higher-ranked Lincoln Cardinals in the first round of the state tournament, the Cougs posted a 14-12 record, including five wins in the brutally competitive TRL, a high-water mark for Evans in his steady career.
Evans’ players have also found success, with three different Cougars having been named to the All-Three Rivers League first team in the past three years alone: Diego Arredondo, Alex Evans and Payton Meyers.
Arredondo, the highest-scoring player in Cougar history and a four-year varsity player under Evans, will always remember the head coach fondly.
“One thing you could always count on was Coach Evans saying ‘Hi’ to you and seeing how you were doing every time he saw you,” Arredondo told the Current. “He turned every team of his into a tight-knit family/community, and many of my greatest memories were formed while playing under him.”
One of Evans’ most visible contributions to the program is Pack the Gym, a popular tradition in which the Canby faithful crowd in for a raucous tilt against a rotating league opponent — essentially, the basketball answer to football’s Homecoming Game.
Evans started Pack the Gym Night shortly after taking the reins of the boys’ basketball program in 2011 and the thrilling 11th edition, held just this past February, was an instant classic.
And the tradition will live on, he confirmed, even after he takes a step back.
“Pack the Gym Night has been a blast, and it will continue,” Evans told the Current. “My Marketing 2 class puts it on.”
The Canby Athletics Department on Thursday said the process of replacing Evans has just begun and will involve getting feedback from players and community members as to what they would like to see from the program’s new leader. The district expects to post the job opening soon.
The Cougars, scheduled to move down to 5A after the season’s end, will start summer ball in June.
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