Bunker Hill didn’t have to go far to find its new girls basketball and softball head coaches.
Lee Swanson, who has coached the boys basketball team at Bunker Hill for the past four years, will become the Bears’ new girls basketball coach. He replaces Randy Joines, who announced his retirement May 17 after nine seasons.
“It wasn’t an easy decision at all,” Swanson said in a phone interview. “There are a lot of good kids there.”
Swanson came to Bunker Hill from South Caldwell ahead of the 2015-16 season. In his four years with the boys, he guided the program to a combined 40-61 record and three NCHSAA 2A state tournament appearances.
His most successful season with the Bears came earlier this year, when they finished 16-11 overall and tied for second in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference with a 9-3 record. Their season ended with a 10-point loss at Lexington Senior in the first round of the state tournament.
Swanson stated that he wasn’t interested in leaving Bunker Hill anytime soon, but this switch allows him to have more time with his wife and young daughter.
“It’s never easy but I’ve got a 3-year-old at home,” Swanson said. “We start really late and she didn’t get to come to most of my games.”
In the girls team, Swanson takes over a program that won 20 games last season and graduates just one senior. Among the Bears’ returners are Addie Wray, an all-conference and all-district selection who scored a team-best 20.2 points per game as a sophomore this past season, as well as forward Maddie Stotts, a rising senior that averaged 11.7 points and 9.1 rebounds.
“We return most of our roster there,” Swanson said. “We’ve got plenty of good players coming back. And I’ve got a relationship with those kids already.
“We’re going to be pretty talented.”
Additionally, Bunker Hill has filled the softball head coaching vacancy opened by Joines’ retirement by promoting assistant coach Sadie Norris, according to a press release from athletic director James Byrd.
A 2011 West Lincoln graduate, Norris had served as an assistant to Joines for the past four years on both the softball and girls basketball teams. She played a major role in helping the Bears’ softball program reach the NCHSAA 2A West Region finals in 2018 as well as the third round of the state playoffs this spring.
"I'm very excited for this opportunity,” Norris said via the press release. “I'm thankful to coach Joines for his mentoring. He has been a wonderful example, and leaves big shoes to fill. I'm glad to be here and part of this community."
Joines also spoke highly of Norris, saying in the school’s release that "Coach Norris has been a huge part of my success the last four years. I am very confident she will continue to have great success with the Bunker Hill softball program. She is the perfect person to lead the Lady Bears."
Bunker Hill has already begun the search for Swanson’s replacement as the boys basketball coach.