FARMINGTON — It's the end of an era for the Piedra Vista girls' basketball team.
After five years, Mike Christie is stepping down as head coach of the Lady Panthers, leaving former assistant Joe Reed in charge of the program.
“I just felt it was time, and everything was right,” Christie said. “It was hard leaving behind that group of girls, but the cupboard is full for coach Reed.”
Christie led the Lady Panthers to the semifinals in the 4A state tournament in 2012, which was the deepest run in the program's history.
“He put our program on the map. It's been nothing short of incredible,” said PV athletic director Kelly Thur. “He's created momentum in the program and got them close (to a state title). It's a big loss. He's been around the game for a long time. Coach Reed will have some big shoes to fill.”
Christie said the support he received at Piedra Vista is one thing he'll miss.
“PV's been great. Kelly (Thur) is 100 percent behind the coaches. Ann Gattis is great principal. I'm not leaving bitter or tired. I enjoy what I did,” he said.
Christie's biggest coaching achievement came prior to his Piedra Vista days.
During his six-year reign at Kirtland Central, he led the Lady Broncos to the 2004 and 2005 state basketball titles.
“The two state titles were huge,” Christie said. “There's a lot of intensity when you get that far. I really enjoyed those settings.”
Christie believes the Lady Panthers will be in good hands with Reed taking over the team.
“It will be an easy transition. He's more than ready,” Christie said. “I've worked with him all five years. I'm excited for him and know the kids will play hard for him.”
Reed is ready for the chance to take the Lady Panthers toward the state championship level.
“I'm looking forward to the opportunity,” he said. “I'm a good motivator, and the girls always played hard and had respect for me.”
Reed said he plans to implement a more up-tempo style of play for PV and will take advantage of what he's learned from his time with Christie.
“If he's not already a hall of famer, he will be,” Reed said. “I've gained a lot of knowledge from him. We're going to do a lot of the same things. I'm a defensive minded coach and want to go up and down the floor.”
Thur has no doubts that Reed will pick up right where Christie left off with the program.
“He knows what the program's expectations are. He knows the girls and will make the transition easy for them and will get the immediate results we're looking for,” Thur said.
Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.