Ridnour steps down as Bellingham Slam coach


Rob Ridnour has stepped down as head coach of the Bellingham Slam, the team announced Monday, March 31.

The organization did not need to look far for a replacement, selecting assistant coach and former player Tyler Amaya as the team's new head coach heading into the 2014 International Basketball League season.

Ridnour leaves his post after eight seasons with the Slam. He had been the only head coach the team had ever known, joining the organization when it was founded in 2005 as a member of the American Basketball Association.

Ridnour, the longtime Blaine High School coach who guided the Borderites to back-to-back state championships in 1999 and 2000 and helped his son Luke Ridnour embark on a career in the NBA, enjoyed unparalleled success with the Slam. Under his tenure, the team never experienced a losing season and won three International Basketball League championships, with the first coming in 2008 during the team's inaugural season in the IBL. He then guided the Slam to consecutive league titles in 2012 and 2013.

In his eight years with the Slam, Ridnour compiled a record of 143 wins and 54 losses. Exactly 100 of those victories came during Bellingham's six seasons as a member of the IBL, making Ridnour the winningest coach in league history.

Amaya takes over coaching duties for the Slam after serving as the team's assistant coach in 2013, a season in which he became the first person to win IBL championships as both a player and coach. As a player, he competed in parts of four seasons from 2008 to 2011, and was easily the most well-traveled player to ever suit up for the Slam, taking his exciting style of play to five different continents between his stints in Bellingham.

Most recently, Amaya served as an assistant coach this past winter with Skagit Valley College, helping guide the Cardinals to fourth place at the NWAACC Men's Basketball Championships.

A native of Mount Vernon, Amaya has been a notable figure in the region's basketball community for years. In 2001, he led Mount Vernon High School to a 3A state championship before heading to Gonzaga to play collegiately. He eventually transferred to Western Washington, where he helped lead the Vikings to consecutive NCAA-II West Regional Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006.

"I am very excited for the opportunity to coach a great organization like the Slam," Amaya said in a news release. "It's a blessing to be able to help individuals who share a passion for the game of basketball and have similar goals to the ones I had growing up.

"I learned a lot from coach Ridnour as both a player and a coach over the last few years, and I think that experience will serve me well," Amaya added.

The Slam will select an assistant coach shortly to complete the team's coaching staff for the 2014 season, which tips off on April 25.

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