Chris Teevan has stepped down as head coach of the Weston Ranch boys basketball team, announcing his resignation Friday two days after the program drew attention for not following COVID-19 protocols in practice.
A player from the team who participated in a session that was filmed by a camera phone and shared on social media has since tested positive for coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Clark Burke suspended sports conditioning at its five high schools — East Union, Manteca, Sierra, Lathrop and Weston Ranch.
“As head coach of the program, I take full responsibility for that,” Teevan said. “I hope that the events of this week don’t diminish the previous eight years that we had together.
“The guidelines were set by MUSD and we as a staff did not follow them,” he added. “I have no ill will toward Manteca Unified.”
Sports conditioning and skill-building activities may resume for Manteca Unified schools on Dec. 7. Weston Ranch, however, has levied a self-imposed extension of the suspension for its boys basketball team.
“We’re taking it upon ourselves to shut down boys basketball at least through the end of the (calendar) year,” Weston Ranch Athletic Director Brett Lewis said. “We tried to get out ahead of it and take as much ownership as possible.”
Lewis added that the search for a Teevan’s replacement has not yet begun.
“We have some ideas, but don’t want to rush anything right now,” he said.
Lewis and Teevan have worked as friends and foes over the years. They co-headed a local Amateur Athletic Union basketball team in the summer of 2011 when Teevan was hired as Weston Ranch coach by then-AD Pat King.
Teevan and the Cougars enjoyed great success over the last eight years, getting a medium-school program to trade punches with heavyweights by the end of his tenure. They compiled a 174-79 record in that span, claiming three Valley Oak League championships and two Sac-Joaquin Section Division III titles in three final-round appearances.
Weston Ranch reached the section final as the No. 9 seed in 2015, falling to Manteca Unified rival Sierra, 67-51. The following season, the Cougars made it back to the championship and defeated Manteca, 69-57. Lewis was Manteca coach at the time and wound up leading the Buffaloes to the California Interscholastic Federation Division III crown.
“We’ve been friends for awhile,” Lewis said. “Over the years, the competition brought us closer together and we gained a mutual respect for each other. Getting to work with him the last year and a half, I know how much he cares for the kids.”
Teevan, with help from assistant coach and good friend Eddie Menzel, lifted the Cougars to higher levels the past two seasons. In 2018-19, the Ranch rode a 30-game winning streak en route to a 31-2 finish, a second SJS title in four years and a coveted berth to the CIF Open Division state playoffs.
Last year, was slotted in the ultra-competitive Division-I bracket for the SJS playoffs and showed well, upsetting two higher-seeded opponents on the road before getting eliminated in the semifinals.
Weston Ranch’s final-four appearance was good for another ticket to NorCals, and the Cougars rallied to capture their ever regional title in Division II.
They were denied the opportunity to compete in the state championships last March — the event at Golden 1 Center was canceled because of coronavirus concerns.
“We could be mad about it, but a once-in-a-100-year thing happened and that’s out of our control,” Teevan said. “I don’t feel bad with how it all ended because my staff and I put everything into that program and community.”
Teevan expressed gratitude for the memories and relationships forged over the last eight years. Among his favorite moments was former Weston Ranch standout James Nunnally’s return to campus in December of 2018.
Then a member of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, Nunnally was honored during a Weston Ranch non-league game with a jersey-retirement ceremony. His T’wolves teammates were among the special guests, including Teevan’s all-time favorite player Derrick Rose.
Currently a free agent residing in San Diego, Nunnally has spent much of his pro career in Europe and last played for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball League.
“He has really made strides and done some great things with the program and those kids,” Nunnally said of Teevan, whom he considers one of his closest friends. He would do anything for those kids and treats them all like his own. The race barrier doesn’t affect how he sees them and how they see him — he has their respect. It’s just awful how this all happened.”
Teevan graduated from Beyer High in Modesto in 2006 and went on to play for Modesto JC and Stanislaus State. He is now an English teacher with Stockton Unified. There are no plans for him to jump right back into coaching, but he looks forward to the added time spent with 5-year-old son Chance.
“I remember in the interview (with King) I had a five-year plan to get us to the national level,” Teevan said. “Looking back that was pretty ambitious and we ended up one step short of that. My son and I have some memorable experiences with the teachers, parents and students through the program. It was everything I was hoping for and more.
“When I first came in all I really only cared about winning. Now, it’s about building relationships not just with the players, but with the school and the community. It has really changed by principles and values as a coach. The relationships are what I’ll miss the most.”