Stephen Garnett, in his first season (2011-12) as an assistant coach at Whitman College, helps with daily operations of the program and focuses on development of players in the weight room.
Garnett says he decided to join the Whitman coaching staff because of its basic concern for the growth and well being of its student athletes, on and off the court.
"There was just something special that you could feel when I first met Coach Bridgeland and Coach Airy," Garnett says. "They truly care about their players and want them to succeed in every aspect of life, not just basketball. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?"
Garnett came to Whitman after serving as associate head coach at Arizona's Casa Grande Union High School. While with the Cougars, he tutored two players who earned all-conference honors, including Jonathan Milligan (22 points per game), who after a productive summer with the Arizona Stars club team, is ranked No. 30 in the nation among point guards for the 2011-12 senior class (ESPNU).
Prior to Casa Grande High School, Garnett served triple duties as assistant athletic director as well as head men's and women's coach at Colorado Northwestern Community College from 2007 through 2009. Under Garnett, the Spartan basketball teams won their first conference games since the 1999-00 season.
"I felt it an honor that the administration had enough faith in me to be able to carry out the duties of dual head coach and assistant athletic director," Garnett says. "I certainly had my share of bumps and bruises in the process of playing in such a tough conference. Every night during conference play you get to play against a Top 20 junior college program. It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every moment of it."
Garnett began his coaching career in 2006 at Sinagua High School in Flagstaff, Ariz., as the assistant varsity coach. He helped guide the Mustangs to a second-place finish in the Grand Canyon Region Conference, runner-up regional honors, and an Elite 8 appearance in the Class 4A state tournament. One member of that team was Peter Clark, a young, future Missionary,
"I first had the chance to work with Peter when he was a sophomore in high school, I knew there was something special about him," Garnett says. "He has turned into a great player, student and most importantly a great individual."
Garnett also assisted with the Arizona Stars basketball club team and helped create the Flagstaff chapter of the Arizona Magic club team. He has worked basketball camps at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and has been a member of the Advantage Basketball Camp family since 2009.
Garnett played collegiately at Northern Arizona University from 2001-2005. He was a three-year starter for the Lumberjacks and saw minutes at every position on the court. In 2004, the Lumberjacks made it to the Big Sky Conference Championship game and were 20 minutes away from the NCAA tournament before losing the automatic birth to Eastern Washington University.
While playing Northern Arizona, Garnett faced many tough opponents including Utah State, Pittsburg, Oregon and Arizona (ranked No. 1 at the time). He was a part of a team that enjoyed upset wins against UCLA (ranked No. 23 at the time) and UNLV.
Garnett received his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media (journalism) with a minor in Business from Northern Arizona University in 2006.
Garnett also works as the Youth Development Coordinator at the Walla Walla YMCA. He and his fiancé, Alexis Buckley, are newly proud parents of a boy, Aylen Michael Garnett, born on Sept. 9, 2011.