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After 18 seasons at the helm, ...
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After 18 seasons at the helm, Frank Lee has resigned as the head coach of the Fairview boys basketball team.

 

Asked about the moments that stood out the most over the 18 seasons he spent as the boys basketball coach at Fairview, and Frank Lee immediately went back to the beginning.

Lee had just taken over his new gig leading the Knights after moving in from Illinois, and his first two team captains, Jeff Garmany and Gabe Helgerson, immediately made big impressions. If not necessarily with their play, but with the a peerless level of grit that eventually defined Lee’s Fairview teams.

“We had those guys as captains but they didn’t play a lot,” Lee recalled. “But they would run through a wall for you, for the team. They helped set the stage.”

The curtain officially has fallen on that stage, as Lee has made it official that he no longer will lead the Fairview boys basketball team after 18 years at the helm. Lee previously had announced that he no longer will serve as the school’s athletic director, a post he has held since 2001, but left the door open for a return to the sideline.

After carefully mulling his options since the Knights were eliminated in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament, Lee finally decided the time was now.

“When you look at it — do you go on? Don’t go on? I think the main thing is the program is in good shape,” Lee said. “I had interviews with the kids about their goals and mindset, and I think we’ll be able to compete next year. That’s how you want to leave it. Everyone always says you want to leave a program in better shape than when you got there, and I think we did that.”

Despite declaring early in the school year this would be his last season as AD, Lee was less certain about his coaching future. Lee indicated Fairview principal Don Stensrud encouraged him to take his time throughout the decision-making process, and it was advice Lee heeded.

“I really just wanted to make sure the program was healthy, and at the end of the season I surely didn’t know,” Lee said. “It’s never been about me, it’s been about the kids and the program. I just think the time is right.”

Lee marches into the sunset of his career without any particular plan for what comes next. He mentioned several possible opportunities down the road, but was non-committal about them. Mostly, Lee plans to spend time with his family, which includes his first grandchild who was born four months ago.

“It’s been a great journey,” Lee said. “I always had great administrators to work for. The parents were supportive. The kids were supportive. There are just too many individuals to talk about. The one thing is I always tried to build the program as a family. We had kids who made headlines, but the ones that didn’t were just as important. That’s always the special thing, the relationships you have.”

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