It turned out to be quite a journey on the sideline for Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball coach Garrett Ohara.
One that’s included more than 300 career victories, a slew of Prep League championships and guiding the program to a CIF Southern Section title over a 20-year span.
The successful run recently came to an end when Ohara decided to step down as coach in search of beginning a new chapter in his life that’s yet to be determined.
“it’s something that I had been thinking about,” said Ohara, who also serves as co-athletic director at Flintridge Prep and will turn over the responsibilities to Sean Beattie in the summer. “At first, I was thinking about coaching for two more years while my daughter, Kate, is a student and girls’ basketball player here.
“I went and talked to [Flintridge Prep headmaster] Peter Bachmann last week and let him know of my decision. I told him that it’s time for me to step away and try something new. You look back and it’s been a fun run with a lot of great players along the way. I’m also cognizant of the fans who have come to the games and given us a lot of support.”
Ohara, 53, took over the program from Alex Rivera in 1999. The 1984 Flintridge Prep graduate, who played point guard for four seasons under Rivera and led the Rebels in scoring and assists his first three seasons, proceeded to go 311-200 and 126-34 in the Prep League during his coaching tenure.
Ohara had a .608 overall winning percentage in 511 games.The Rebels won 14 league titles from 2002 to 2017. Flintridge Prep also advanced to the CIF championship game in 2004, 2011 and 2016.
Flintridge Prep posted a 47-44 win against Muir in the 2011 Division V-AA championship game at Mater Dei with a squad that featured future NCAA Division I players Kenyatta Smith (Harvard) and Robert Cartwright (Stanford and UC Irvine).
“Winning CIF was something special and something I won’t forget,” said Ohara, who had 15 winning seasons and guided the Rebels to 19 playoff appearances. “The best memories that I have now and will continue to have is being able to coach players who worked hard and tried to find ways to make themselves better people.”
Flintridge Prep finished 14-12, 5-3 for second place in league this past season. Flintridge Prep lost, 49-36, to Temple City in a Division IV-AA first-round road contest.
Ohara also coached All-Area players such as Ramses Barden, Tim Mercer, Andrew Beck, Jared Nordworthy and Andrew Tsangeos.
Rivera, who coached at Flintridge Prep from 1978-99 and was the athletic director from 1986-2014, said Ohara brought instant respect and credibility to the program.
“He was an outstanding player for me and he wanted to find ways to make his teammates better players,” said Rivera, who serves as the school’s director of athletic initiatives. “I made a call to him after my last season to see if he’d be interested in taking over the program. I was certainly glad he did and then to see him do what he did was amazing.
“Garrett told me about his decision [to step down as coach] and I could see that he was happy with it. One of the best memories I have of Garrett is grabbing him after the Muir game and hugging him. It meant so much to him to win CIF.”