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Coach of the year can’t stop holding court

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Argyle High School Girls Basketball Coach Skip Townsend with senior Madison Stapleton at the 2015 state basketball playoffs (Photo by Annabel Thorpe).
Argyle High School Girls Basketball Coach Skip Townsend with senior Madison Stapleton at the 2015 state basketball playoffs (Photo by Annabel Thorpe).

When a coach wins six state championships with the same school, it is hard to imagine that he would ever want to leave.

But that is exactly what happened when Skip Townsend left Brock ISD in Parker County four years ago to come to Argyle, and after leading the Lady Eagles basketball team to a state championship this past season, Argyle fans could not be happier.

Townsend said that being named the Texas Basketball Coaches Association (TABC) Coach of the Year is special for him, but added that a state title for Argyle High School is even more special.

“It comes with winning a state championship,” Townsend said. “They [the TABC] don’t give it to you unless you win a state championship. So it was just as much an honor for my team and my school as it was for me. So I accept it for everybody.”

Townsend said that a couple of things made this year’s Argyle girls basketball team pretty special.

“We’ve got a group of kids who have played together now for two years,” Townsend said. “They played together all summer, and that makes a big difference. Also, getting to state last year and losing really made us want to go out there and redeem ourselves. We kind of made it a promise that we would go out and do it, and we did it. It wasn’t easy, but it was very special to all of the kids and coaches.”

Townsend would not comment on whether or not anything less than a state championship would have been a successful season in 2015, but did say that was the major objective throughout the season.

“We really wanted to get back to state,” Townsend said. “That meant a lot to us, because we figured we would have to face our arch rival, Celina, again in the regional finals. We didn’t want to lose there, and that was the game that got us to state…and we actually had some previous battles with Abilene Wylie in the finals of the Whataburger Tournament, so there was some history there. So it was very special for us to face them in the state championship game.”

Townsend has been coaching for 42 years and spent the last 10 years before coming to Argyle at Brock High School, where he led the girls basketball team to six state championships.

The Argyle coach was at Copperas Cove before he got to Brock where he helped his team to an appearance in the state tournament.

Townsend said that even though he had remarkable success at Brock, he felt it was time to move on and said that a couple of things really appealed to him about Argyle.

“Me and my wife were just kind of looking for a new challenge,” Townsend said. “We wanted to see if we could do it someplace else. It took us three years to get to state and four years to win it all. Argyle is a very successful school and program. They have done very well. We’re also getting on in our coaching career, so it has really been a win-win for us. We have really met some great people here and it has really been good.”

Townsend said that his passion for the game has never waned, either.

“You’d think that you’d get tired of it, but I never have,” Townsend said. “I know more about the game now than I ever did. I still love to watch games at all levels, and I don’t think there is ever a game that I ever go to or watch on TV that I don’t learn something from.

“I love watching the sport almost as much as I do coaching it. I just love to watch a team play and then figure out how you’re going to try to beat them. That’s one of the great things about it. I love to create game plans and develop athletes. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Townsend said his time at Argyle has been great, and in spite of coaching for more than four decades and winning seven state championships, he said he has no intention of retiring any time soon.

“I don’t know when that will happen,” Townsend said. “You’d think you could just shut that down, but it’s not that easy. Sometimes I think that after Vivian (Gray) graduates, and she is a sophomore right now, would be a good time, but then I see the way that some of my freshman and junior high players are competing and see their desire to win, and I just don’t know. I really don’t know.”

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