• June 19, 2024

In Panama City, Florida, Phil Gaffney has announced his resignation as the head coach of the Gulf Coast men’s basketball program. The school conveyed this news via an email on Thursday morning, stating, “Gulf Coast State College Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Phil Gaffney, has announced his resignation. Coach Gaffney said, ‘I am stepping down to look for new opportunities.'” Gaffney, who led the Commodore men’s program for five seasons, achieved a 78-60 overall record, including a Region 8 championship in 2019-2020. Gulf Coast State College is initiating a national search for a new men’s basketball coach.

During a phone conversation with Coach Gaffney shortly after the email was sent, he elaborated on his decision, saying, “It’s time for me to move on and look for something different. At this point, I don’t have anything specific in mind. After 29 years coaching, I’m not sure I will look for another coaching job. I’m not sure even what level my next job will be on. It could be on the Juco level, or maybe a different level. I’ve been an Athletic Director before, and I may look for another A.D. job.”

Reflecting on his five years leading the Gulf Coast men’s program, Coach Gaffney humorously shared, “I remember having a heart attack during a game and finishing that game and beating a top-ranked team!” He expressed pride in the team’s finish during the 2019-2020 season, winning three consecutive games and securing the program’s first state championship in 48 years. Despite earning a spot in the National Tournament, the tournament was canceled due to COVID just days before Gulf Coast was set to travel to Kansas. Gaffney lamented, “I really felt like we were a team that could contend for that national championship. We had already beaten several ranked teams that season, including the number one team. I felt that Gulf Coast team was as good or better than any of the previous Final Four teams I had coached at Nationals.”

Closing the conversation, Coach Gaffney expressed pride in bringing the program its first title in 48 years and emphasized the importance of doing things the right way. He stated, “I’m sorry we didn’t win more, but I know we worked to develop our players to be a better person, a better student, and a better athlete. And in that order. And I felt like we accomplished all that. And I’m proud we had a great graduation rate!”

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