Prairie basketball coach Kyle Brooks calls it a career

Brooks has been the boys basketball coach for 21 seasons with the Falcons

Kyle Brooks, like he has done for years, surveyed the situation, and put together a strategy late Tuesday night.

The call? Meal time for the Prairie boys basketball coaching staff.

Kyle Brooks, shown here in 2019, announced that he is retiring after 21 seasons as the head coach of the Prairie boys basketball team. Photo by Mike Schultz
Kyle Brooks, shown here in 2019, announced that he is retiring after 21 seasons as the head coach of the Prairie boys basketball team. Photo by Mike Schultz

The short-handed Falcons beat Evergreen, and Brooks and his three assistant coaches celebrated at a nearby restaurant in east Vancouver.

They also went to celebrate a career.

News broke earlier in the day that Brooks will be retiring from coaching after this abbreviated season, his 21st at Prairie, 25th as a high school head coach. He is also leaving his teaching job at the high school. Scorebook Live’s Andy Buhler posted his story before the Evergreen game. (https://scorebooklive.com/washington/2021/05/25/after-inspiring-return-to-the-court-longtime-prairie-coach-kyle-brooks-will-retire-after-the-season-ill-always-be-a-falcon/)

After the game, at the restaurant, Brooks praised his team for rising to the challenge, and his coaches for doing the same. 

And while he was talking about Tuesday’s game specifically, he also could have been talking about his players and coaches for what they have done for him the past year-and-a-half.

Brooks was stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome during the 2019-20 season, spent months in the hospital, and is still in recovery.

It was his assistants who kept the Prairie basketball culture thriving while Brooks was out of action. 

Brooks said it was important to him to be able to return to the court.

Now, with three more games this week and at least one guaranteed next week in the culminating event, Brooks, 60, has decided it is time to retire after this season.

“I wish I could keep coaching, but it’s just the right decision for me and my family,” Brooks said. “The exciting thing for me is I got to coach with these guys.”

Jimmy Tuominen has been with Brooks for 14 seasons. It was Tuominen who took over the head coaching duties last year when Brooks was in the hospital. Also at the restaurant on Tuesday were assistants Ethan Rouse and Cody Barton.

“I’m a Falcon all the way. I hope I get better in the next couple, three years and maybe someday I’ll come back and help these guys,” Brooks said.

While he understands the school has to go through a hiring process, Brooks said he is pulling for Tuominen.

“He’s real deserving of an opportunity, especially after the three of these guys, what they did in the winter of 2020, picking up the slack,” Brooks said. “We always talk about Prairie basketball, and Jimmy just picked up the pieces.”

Brooks said it has been awesome to be back on the sideline, to go through this final journey together with his staff. His long-term plan was to coach until he was 65. But last year’s ordeal changed that timeline.

“That was a challenging decision,” Brooks said. “Due to health and things … one thing you can’t get back is time.”

Note: Clark County Today profiled Kyle Brooks during his recovery last fall and posted this story as he hoped to coach basketball again.

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