Halftime at the Hoover/Roosevelt boys’ basketball game Friday night in the Huskie gym was like a truce in a battle – with an unusual wrinkle. One side awarded a medal to the general from the other.
ROOSEVELT Coach Charles Zanders was inducted into the HOOVER hall of fame!
Zanders is a Hoover alum, Class of ’87, same as his wife, Linda. He came up through the Huskie feeder system: Samuelson Elementary and Meredith Middle School (where he’s currently a behavior coach) before playing and later coaching at Hoover. In six seasons at the Huskie helm, he racked up a glossy record of 100-39, highlighted by the 2006 Class 4-A state title. That 26-0 season earned Zanders state coach of the year honors.
Zanders left Hoover in 2009 to coach at Simpson College in Indianola before returning to the high school ranks as head coach at Roosevelt in 2015-16.
His Rider troops left the floor at halftime Friday night trailing by a score of 23-12 at the hands of their 4th ranked hosts. Luckily for them their coach had to stay behind to be feted. Instead of following his current team into the locker room to deliver a tongue-lashing, Zanders was honored by former high school teammates and some of the players from that ’06 championship team.
They rolled that trophy onto the court and testimonials included one delivered by Hoover principal Kathie Danielson, whose son Greg played for some great Hoover teams coached by Bobby Sandquist with assistance from Zanders.
Danielson, who previously served as principal at Roosevelt, in the evening’s spirit of blurred lines of allegiance, read a letter from Sandquist, who couldn’t be there because he’s busy these days coaching the Johnston Dragons.
“Your positive attitude and electric personality rubbed off on everyone around you,” read Sandquists’s tribute, in part, and that’s still Zanders in a nutshell.
He’s a popular guy on the northwest side of town. That was obvious watching him shake hands, exchange hugs and wave to old friends in the Hoover side of the stands before the game Friday night. Once the whistle blew, though, it was clear he’s all in on the task of building Roosevelt’s program into a powerhouse like the one at Hoover that continues to roll under the leadership of Zanders’ successor, Courtney Henderson.
By the start of the 2nd quarter Zanders had removed the jacket of his snappy suit. His in-game coaching style is animated and full-throated. But when it came his turn to speak at halftime he turned down the volume to a humbler tone.
“I’m here as a guest tonight,” he said, “but I committed 17 years of my blood, sweat and tears to this Hoover community. Thank you so much for this tremendous honor.”
The crowd stood to applaud a coach that both sides know and love, one in appreciation of past services rendered and the other in anticipation of great things to come.
For the record, Hoover won this round by a final score of 57-49. But rest assured, Zanders and the Riders will be back.