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Gettysburg coach flips from boys' hoops to girls' helm

When Max Laing resigned his post as Gettysburg High School's girls' basketball coach last week, Warriors boys' basketball coach Jeff Bair had a decision to make.

It involved his family.

Bair coached his son Sean, the current boys' coach at New Oxford, but he didn't have the opportunity to coach his oldest daughter, Ellen, when she played at Gettysburg. With his youngest daughter, Anne, about to complete seventh grade, Bair couldn't pass up the opportunity to coach his daughter.

So he set in motion the process of moving from the school's varsity boys' basketball coach to becoming school's varsity girls' basketball coach.

"I have been coaching my daughter's group through our Chillies AAU program for three years," Bair said. "With the job being available, it was a now-or-never decision, which took a lot of time."

When Bair arrived at Gettysburg in 2005, the boys' program was coming off a 4-19 season, but it hadn't hit rock bottom yet. That would come in Bair's first two seasons at the helm with the Warriors posting 2-22 records in each of them.

The tide began to turn in 2007-08 when the Warriors posted a 15-10 record and qualified for the District 3 tournament for the first time since 2003. That commenced a run of eight district appearances in nine years, including six in a row from 2011-16. It also featured back-to-back PIAA tournament appearances, in 2015 and 2016, the first time the Warriors earned a state tournament berth since 1984.

Bair also guided the team to the Mid-Penn Colonial division title in 2012-13, the first time the school had captured a division title in boys basketball since 1993-94.

He posted a 138-149 record in his time leading the boys' team, and his teams went 134-105 in the final 10 years.

"Overall, the boys program is in a very good place," Bair said. "Our youth program is strong, and we have a solid group of kids at almost every level. There are a lot of pros and few cons on either staying with the boys or moving to the girls. Anne tilted the balance, I think. While coaching your child can be difficult, it will at least be a mutual work together."

Even though he will no longer be coaching the boys, Bair is still committed to the Mid-Penn/YAIAA Showcase event that takes place annually in January. Though he did hint at possible changes in the future.

"I am working on making sure that the Showcase remains next year in its present form," he said. "Hopefully, in the future, it will become more of a coed event."