Amador boys varsity basketball team gets new head coach

Gardner played the position of point guard, turning him into the great team player he is today.

Gardner played the position of point guard, turning him into the great team player he is today.

Matthew Carter, AVT EIC

The Amador Valley boys varsity basketball team recently gained a new and experienced head coach, Willis Gardner. Coach Gardner has devoted his life to the sport of basketball and teaching it to others.

Above is Amador’s new head boys varsity basketball coach, Willis Gardner.

Basketball has given me the platform to help impact and change the lives of over a thousand kids. It also gave me the discipline and integrity that I need as a man to be able to provide for my family and myself. It taught me to be selfless and be a team player. As a point guard it was my job to put others before me no matter what, showed me how to be a leader and at an early age,” says Gardner.

Gardner has both played and coached basketball in a number of different settings. He started his basketball career playing for two different European national basketball teams. He played professionally on the Sixers and the Frankfurt Skyliners from 2009-2013 after graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Liberal Arts.

While he spent years playing the game Gardner has a good number of coaching years under his belt as well. His past positions have included an assistant coach at Ohlone College, a mentor for the Amatuer Athletes Union, and both the assistant coach for junior varsity and the head assistant coach for varsity at Granada High School. Thankfully, Gardner’s time coaching has led him to Amador Valley.

I wanted to coach at Amador because I finally have the opportunity to instill my wisdom and knowledge of the game not only to the team but also the community that will last for many years to come. I have been blessed and honored to play and coach under the likes of John Peterson(LMU), Craig Smith(Utah state), Niko Medved(Colorado state), and Quaran Johnson(Granada). With the caliber of these collective minds they have helped me build great character and understanding to properly build and sharpen young men to be great role models and community leaders on and off the court.” says Gardner.

Pictured above is a photo from Gardner’s time playing college basketball for Colorado State.

It’s without a doubt that Coach Garnder will teach the athletes how to play a great game, but he believes there’s more to coaching than just that.

I plan to teach them how to be fine young men and how to overcome adversity and uplift those around them and always push and strive to be a greater version of themselves. Also, the true importance is not from winning and losing but how to grow and learn from those wins and losses.” says Gardner.