Another longtime girls basketball coach has announced he won’t return to the sideline next season.
Bellevue East’s Scott Jensen said Thursday that he’ll be leaving the school after 22 years to accept a position as assistant principal at Fremont Middle School. Jensen, who is Bellevue East’s dean of students, has guided the Chieftains the past 19 seasons and led them to three state titles.
“It was a really tough decision for me,” he said. “This is the first job I’ve applied for in 22 years so this will be something totally new for me.”
Jensen’s move comes eight days after Seward High School announced that Tom Tvrdy was stepping down as the girls basketball coach. Tvrdy had coached the past 12 years at Seward, guiding the Bluejays to four consecutive state titles from 2009-2012 and a 104-game win streak.
Jensen said he and his family — wife Robyn, daughter Rylie and son Jadyn — will soon be moving to Fremont. Rylie, a freshman guard who averaged almost eight points this past season, will play next season for Fremont High.
She’ll join All-Nebraska forward Jessica Shepard as a newcomer for the Tigers. Shepard, a sophomore at Lincoln Southeast, will transfer to Fremont because her father, Mark, has been named the superintendent of Fremont Public Schools.
“Rylie and Jess have played together for the Cornhusker Shooting Stars (select team),” Scott Jensen said. “I think that will make leaving Bellevue East and going to Fremont High a lot easier for her.”
Jensen led the Chieftains to the state tournament 12 times. Bellevue East captured titles in 2002, 2006 and 2011 and finished as the runner-up under Jensen in 2004 and 2005.
The school went 19-6 this past season, losing to eventual Class A champion Southeast in the first round of the state tourney.
It also was a season that saw former All-Nebraska guard Jayla Hobza miss several games for the Chieftains because of personal issues. Jensen said Hobza recently verbally committed to play next season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
“It was a tough situation,” Jensen said. “But I was proud of what our team still achieved, and I think Trinity Valley will be a good fit for Jayla.”
Jensen added that the Fremont position came open a few weeks ago and he interviewed for the job last week.
“I’m excited for the potential I’ll have there,” he said. “This will be the next step in my professional career and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The move to Fremont also will bring the Jensen family closer to the Fritsche family. Matt Fritsche, Jensen’s brother-in-law, was the girls basketball coach at Bellevue West before leaving in 2012 to become the women’s basketball coach at Midland University.
“That’s another thing that will make the move a smooth one,” Jensen said. “Our families are very close so it just seemed like another factor that supported the move.”
Jensen, who compiled a 334-143 mark at Bellevue East, said he has no immediate plans to coach again on the varsity level. He will help coach his daughter’s Shooting Stars team this summer and coach his second-grade son Jadyn’s team next season.
“I can’t say enough about all of the hard-working girls I got the opportunity to coach over the years at Bellevue East,” Jensen said. “And to have the success that we did is something I’ll never forget.”
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