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Wells steps down, Breeden takes over Burbank girls' basketball

Wells steps down, Breeden takes over Burbank girls' basketball
John Wells has stepped down as Burbank High girls' basketball coach after two seasons. (File Photo)

John Wells, who headed the Burbank High girls’ basketball program for two seasons, had stepped down, according to a release from principal Michael Bertram on Tuesday afternoon.

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In the statement, Wells outlined his reasons for stepping down, which include health concerns, along with his new role as Burbank Associated Student Body (ASB) advisor.

“In talking with my family over these last couple weeks I have decided to resign from being the head varsity girls basketball coach at Burbank High School,” Wells said in the release.

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“Due to some personal health concerns and my new role as ASB advisor my family and I decided stepping away from basketball at this time was the best option for my health, my work life balance and demands of being an ASB Advisor.

Wells went on: “This doesn’t come easy to me as I have enjoyed my time coaching the student-athletes here at BHS. I look forward to continuing educating the great students here at BHS as PE teacher and ASB Advisor.”

Also in the statement, Bertram concluded: “The student athletes are a priority of ours and we will do our best to have a new coach in place soon.”

It didn’t take long to find Wells’ replacement. On Thursday, the school tabbed former Bulldogs coach Bruce Breeden to take over the program.

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In two seasons, Wells had a 24-33 overall record and his Bulldogs teams went 10-16 to finish tied for fifth and sixth in league. In the 2017-16 season, Burbank went 10-18 and 5-9 in league for sixth. The Bulldogs failed to make the players both seasons.

“I look forward to working more closely with John as ASB advisor,” Bertram said. “He has been a terrific coach at Burbank High School.

“I respect and support his decision of stepping away from coaching basketball at this time.”

In 2016, Breeden decided to step down from his coaching post to concentrate on his co-athletic director duties after guiding the Bulldogs program for 11 years.

“I’m back,” Breeden said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity.

“I had been helping the boys’ program since their coach left and when the girls’ coach stepped down they came to me and asked me if I would take over on an interim basis. I am looking forward to getting back at it.”

In his 11-year tenure at Burbank, starting with the 2005-06 season, Breeden's teams went 164-144 and 80-70 in the Pacific League, qualifying for the CIF Southern Section playoffs eight times and winning 18 or more games five times. This last season, the Bulldogs went 18-11 and placed fourth in league.

One of the most successful seasons under Breeden came in 2008, when Burbank tied a school record for wins in a season by going 20-9.

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The most successful playoff run by the Bulldogs came in 2012 when they advanced to the Division I-A semifinals, falling to Summit. Burbank, which went 19-14 that year, also qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in program history.

Prior to his tenure at Burbank, Breeden coached four years at Crescenta Valley (76-37 record) and one each at Hoover and El Monte.

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