Home » Sports » Bay Port » Gladwell steps down as Bay Port girls’ basketball coach

Gladwell steps down as Bay Port girls’ basketball coach

‘Outside noise’ took away fun after three seasons

By Jordon Lawrenz


After three seasons as head coach of the Bay Port girls’ basketball team, Dennis Gladwell has decided to step down.

With a 33-37 overall record with the program, Gladwell left a lasting impact since he first came on as the junior varsity coach in the 2016-17 season. In Gladwell’s first season coaching JV, the team went 20-0.

The varsity coach at the time, Kati Coleman, moved Gladwell up to be a varsity assistant the next season. 

Gladwell was hired as the varsity coach for the 2020-21 season. The Pirates were coming off a 24-2 season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bay Port had just taken down Kimberly in the sectional final, 56-34, when the season came to a halt. Coleman stepped down after that and Gladwell took over.

“If you are going to be a head coach you have to be able to spend a lot of time building your program – that includes working with the youth program,” Gladwell said. “The entire program is your responsibility and that takes a lot of time away from family.”

While this is Dillon Maney’s first year as the Bay Port athletic director, he has known Gladwell for a few years and knows the impact he had on the program.

“Coach Gladwell did a great job creating excitement around our women’s basketball team and he also was a tremendous asset for the youth program,” Maney said. “Our numbers have been up and Dennis was a huge contribution to that.

“Gladwell did a fantastic job coming in during COVID. He’s a great individual who’s authentic and real and provides great leadership for everyone in the program.”

Gladwell was 6-14 in his first season before having back-to-back winning seasons. 

Ultimately, there were a few factors that contributed to Gladwell’s decision to step down.

“I had a lot of outside noise this past year that did not make coaching as fun as it has been,” Gladwell said. “None of it was coming from the school, they were always great to me and great to work with.

“The demands on a head coach are very high to begin with, but when outside noise starts causing you to not have as much fun as you had in previous years, it really weighs on you. I had many nights where I did not sleep due to the outside noise, and for my health I decided to step down.”

Gladwell’s decision came as a bit of a surprise to Maney. The two were working through the schedule for next season, but Maney understands the pressure of being a head coach,

“Dennis is a retired police officer and military, so being head coach was basically another full-time job for him,” Maney said. “There’s a lot of pressure and added expectations now that he had two great seasons.”

Those two great seasons wouldn’t have been a reality if Gladwell didn’t pour his heart and soul into the program.

“I would hope that when people brought my name up, they would take about a coach that wanted everything for the girls’ program,” Gladwell said. “I put many hours into building the girls’ program and tried to build the program from the bottom up. I wanted to build the program not only on the court, but off the court as well.

“Each one of the players I had an opportunity to coach is very special to me and hopefully they all know that even though I am no longer on the sidelines guiding them, I will always be there for them as their coach. They each hold a special place in my heart.”

The search for a new girls’ basketball head coach is just beginning. Maney plans to meet once more with Bay Port Principal Michael Frieder. The two will figure out if there is a teaching possibility to go along with being the girls’ coach. From there, they’ll finalize the posting and hope to have a good idea of potential candidates in the next few weeks. 

At the end of the day, Gladwell reflected on his time with Bay Port,

“I would just like to take the opportunity to thank all of Pirate nation for the opportunity to represent them as an assistant and head coach of the girls basketball program,” he said. “The past seven years at Bay Port will never be forgotten.

“If there is anything I can do on my way out, it would be to continue to promote the girls’ basketball program and let everyone know how gifted and talented the girls are in this program. The fans should continue to cheer for them, because good things are coming for all of them and as a fan they are not going to want to miss out.”

Facebook Comments
Scroll to Top