Greenwood girls coach Taft steps down

Greenwood Community High School girls basketball coach Lee Taft has resigned his position after two seasons in which he led the Woodmen to a 19-29 record.

Taft, whose 2016-17 Woodmen squad finished with a record of 4-19, said the decision to leave the program was difficult.

“I actually submitted (the resignation) on Friday, which I absolutely hated because I love coaching,” Taft said. “There was hope on my part that a teaching position would be available, but that never happened. It was strictly a financial thing.

“Rob Irwin is one of the best athletic directors, and it’s just a tremendous administration at Greenwood where a lot of them understand athletics. (Principal) Todd Garrison was great. Very fair. I am indebted to the administration.”

Named the Greenwood coach in June 2015, Taft succeeded Debbie Guckenberger, who left following 12 seasons to become girls basketball coach at Brownsburg High School.

Taft’s first team, led by four senior starters — his daughter, Jae, forward Megan Overton, guard Maddy Renfro and Indiana All-Star guard Holly Hoopingarner — won its first six games. The Woodmen advanced to the title game of the Class 4A sectional before losing to Center Grove in overtime, 90-85.

Before coming to Greenwood, Taft served as the girls coach at Union (Modoc) High School from 2010-13. In his final season he led the Class A Rockets to a 16-4 record.

Taft moved his family to Greenwood as being in the Indianapolis metropolitan area better served his athletics training business, The Lee Taft Speed Academy.

The demands of coaching at Greenwood left Taft less and less time to devote to his business.

Looking back, Taft was able to coach both of his daughters, which created memories he’ll forever cherish. His younger daughter, Bailee, was the starting point guard as a sophomore this season.

Bailee Taft loves being a student-athlete at Greenwood and plans to remain there in the future, according to her father.

“Being able to coach them was special, and what makes it special is that they both wanted that,” he said. “They really enjoyed it because I treated them fairly, understood what they were trying to do, and we didn’t take it home with us.”

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.