DOLORES – Familiar, yet new. A Four Corners mainstay will take over the Dolores boys basketball head coaching position for the 2021-22 season, as former Fort Lewis College standout Brice Searles accepted the role to guide the Bears this winter.
A prolific hoops skills instructor who has called Durango home in recent years, Searles looks to put his stamp on a program that seeks its first winning season since 2016-17.
A basketball clinician, who works for the company Breakthrough Basketball, Searles has added to the legacy of his playing days by developing skills for players of various age ranges while traveling the country conducting clinics.
Amidst all his travels, the Dolores coaching opportunity stopped him in his tracks, opening a door to exchange clinics and camps for the clipboard and a full-time coaching role. While it wasn’t on his radar initially, Searles warmed up to the idea of dividing time between his clinic work and coaching.
“After discussion with the staff in Dolores, it appeared as though I would be able to balance my work between the school district and my other obligations,” said Searles, “and so while I wasn’t seeking it out initially, I’m thrilled to take on the challenge.”
Searles played at Fort Lewis College for one year, where he led the then-named Raiders in scoring and earned All-American honors. During the 1984-1985 season, he posted 83 blocked shots, enough for No. 7 on the FLC record books. Searles’ previous three years came in Spokane, Washington for the Division I Gonzaga Bulldogs. His subsequent clinic work has helped him cross paths with a who’s who of hardwood greats, including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Along with taking over the helm of the Bears basketball team, Searles will also take on a role within the school district, joining the middle school in the special education department.
“As excited as I am to join this program,” added Searles, “I’m just as excited to get into this school district.”
That connection of athletics as an extension of the classroom is a point that Searles seeks to emphasize.
“One of my primary goals,” said Searles, “is to develop better athletes, better students, and help support these young men in the same ways that so many of my coaches have done for me.”
Dolores enters 2021-22 coming off of a 5-9 campaign and a fourth-place finish in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League.
As for the upcoming season, Searles knows that depth is going to make his program better. “We’re going to be strengthening our bench,” said Searles, “and I want to make sure that we spend as much time developing those players as we do our starting five.”
Regardless of what lays ahead for the Bears, Searles made it clear what his expectations will be for the upcoming season. “Good training leads to good basketball,” he added, “and I know that our teams are going to be built around playing hard defense and focusing on fundamentals.”