Jumping out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter, the host Titans were overwhelmed by Mainland 96-58 at the Kelleher Firm Holiday Shootout Naples Daily News
The Golden Gate High School boys basketball program is turning to a coach from its most successful era in hopes of reviving the program.
Former assistant Guy Hensley has been hired to take over the program, Golden Gate athletic director Pete Seitz announced this week. Hensley was a Titans assistant coach for four years (2013-17) before spending the past three years as an assistant at Tiffin University, a Division II program in Ohio.
During Hensley’s time, under head coach Greg Anderson, Golden Gate went 83-30. The Titans had three straight 20-win seasons, including a school record 24-5 mark in 2015-16, and won two district titles. In 2014-15, Golden Gate went to the regional finals for the first time.
Hensley said he was sad to leave the Titans, but he wanted a chance to coach in college. While he was gone, the 2001 Gulf Coast graduate said his heart remained at Golden Gate.
“When I left, I always stayed in contact with (former players),” Hensley said. “I thought, ‘Where can I have the biggest impact? Where do I belong?’ It’s with those kids helping that community. I love that community.”
When boys basketball coach Brian Kelly resigned this offseason to spend time with his family, Seitz received about 50 applications. However, the Titans’ AD knew who he wanted for the job.
Seitz reached out to Hensley before the coach even applied.
“If you talk to basketball people around here, his name always surfaces,” Seitz said. “He knows the game inside and out. More importantly, he knows Golden Gate High School. He had a great relationship with kids when he was here. We wanted to bring him back and start moving forward.”
Following the 2016-17 season, Anderson resigned to pursue a job in school administration and Hensley left for Tiffin. Since then the Titans have won just 14 games combined in the past three years.
Golden Gate stumbled under Anderson’s replacement. Sean Richey, who coached just 11 games in 2017 before taking leave for unspecified reasons and never returning.
The Titans went 3-20 in 2017-18. Before that season the program had just three losing records since opening in 2004. Golden Gate now has had three consecutive losing seasons.
Seitz and Hensley credit Kelly for picking up the pieces after Richey left. Kelly, who did not work at the school, was the freshman coach and took over when Richey left.
From 2018: Kelly takes over Titans basketball program
Though the Titans didn’t win many games, Seitz said Kelly began to rebuild a culture of trust among the players. Hensley plans to build on that.
“When I was there, it was a true family,” Hensley said. “The kids knew we cared about them outside of basketball. That’s where it starts. It’s about building that culture. Coach Kelly came in and did a great job rebuilding the foundation."
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Hensley moved to Naples before high school. He started at Barron Collier then moved to Gulf Coast when it opened. After graduating in 2001, Hensley played one year of basketball at Ohio Wesleyan.
While Hensley doesn’t have a teaching position at Golden Gate yet, Seitz said he hopes the coach will be at the school next year. With the buildings closed currently due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear what positions will be open, Seitz said.
Hensley has a Master’s in Business Administration degree in leadership and change.
“Big thanks to Pete Seitz and principal Tobin Walcott,” Hensley said. “I’m just excited to get back to Golden Gate and win with these kids.”