No coach has won more games in Nevada high school basketball history than Karen Weitz.
Weitz has 691 wins as the girls coach at Cheyenne and Centennial, where she has built a dynasty with 13 state championships, including seven straight.
Weitz will continue to rack up wins as the Bulldogs’ girls coach, but she’s taking on a new title next season — Centennial boys basketball coach.
“The timing of it was right,” Weitz said. “It’s been a joke from some of my colleagues and past players that I need to coach the boys. I’ve been at Centennial since 1999, and all my loyalty is to that school, so it had to be here. The opening came up, I’m retiring (from teaching), so it was just coincidentally the right time.”
The task of turning around the boys program won’t be easy. The Bulldogs finished 10-14 last season and 3-7 in the Southern League, a ninth-place finish that left them one spot out of the playoffs.
Weitz emphasized that the girls program hasn’t always been the machine it is now. She doesn’t expect to turn things around for the boys immediately, but said they will have more structure.
“The boys are already familiar with how the girls program has been run,” Weitz said. “They know it’s going to be a lot different. They are going to be held to some different standards, but they’re not standards that are unrealistic. Show up to practice? That’s not unrealistic. Don’t be late? That’s not unrealistic.”
Weitz has already experienced her first setback in building a new program. The Centennial gym is being resurfaced and repainted, so she’s having to make alternate arrangements to get the team together.
One of the reasons the Centennial girls have been so successful under Weitz is because the team stays together year-round and plays as its own club team.
That probably won’t be the case with the boys, she said, because the valley has several high-level boys club teams. She said she will have the boys together for the fall intramural season, throughout the winter and in June, when they are off from their club teams.
There was really only one obstacle that could have stopped Weitz from coaching the boys, she said, and that was if the girls team didn’t approve.
“They have been the priority of my life through some of the best years of my life,” she said. “I had to have their blessing. I didn’t want them to feel slighted. We’ve got a good group right now and have had them for the past couple years through COVID. The philosophies are established, so it’s mostly fine-tuning every day with them.”
It’s not uncommon anymore for women to coach high school boys teams, but it’s rare in basketball and even rarer for one coach to run both programs.
Weitz said scheduling was her first concern, but the administration assured her there would be few conflicts for games. She said she plans to have practices back to back.
Weitz said she had her first meeting with the boys team, and there were “30-plus guys in there.” She told them that she had 14 girls on the varsity team in her first year at Centennial. By the end of the season, there were seven.
She didn’t mince words in telling the boys the same could happen with them.
“This is a whole new rebuilding process,” Weitz said. “We have to find the core of the program, guys that want to dedicate themselves and sacrifice the time it takes to build a successful program.”