Gillian d’Hondt recently turned in her coaching clipboard after three seasons with the Mercer Island Islanders girls basketball program.
Coach d’Hondt, who took over the Islanders program during the 2015-16 season, announced her resignation in late April. d’Hondt led the Islanders to its first ever state basketball championship in 2017. The Islanders defeated Bishop Blanchet, 52-47, in the Class 3A state title game on March 4, 2017 at the Tacoma Dome.
The epic run to the state title is something d’Hondt will always cherish.
“What I will remember most was winning the state title for the first time in school history. It was just an amazing experience and was something special that the girls deserved more than anything,” d’Hondt said. “They fought for that title and bought into their roles. I’m just so proud of what we were able to accomplish.”
Coach d’Hondt said she will always have fond memories of her three seasons on the island.
“I really enjoyed my time there and I have so much respect for the community. There is no hard feelings at all. I’m just taking some time for myself at the moment. I have been coaching year around for years. I am so obsessed with the sport of basketball and giving back my knowledge that I kind of lost sight of time for myself,” d’Hondt said. “I’m just taking some time right now to assess what my next step is.”
Breaking the news to current members of the Islanders basketball team was difficult for d’Hondt.
“It was the hardest part by far,” d’Hondt said of her resignation. “It is still hard. I saw a couple of them recently and I gave them big hugs. I’m going to enjoy continuing to watch them grow as people and players. I’m going to continue to support the program. I really have a lot of love for all those girls and I really want them to succeed in the future.”