Westlake boys basketball’s Kyle Kegley bids an emotional farewell to coaching

Kyle Kegley dove headfirst into coaching when he was 18 years old. He had graduated from Thousand Oaks as the all-time leading scorer and felt more than ready for college basketball.

“And then I had surgery on my back at 18,” Kegley said. “I was misdiagnosed and I should have never had surgery and I have never recovered since.”

His back injury and subsequent surgery had ended his playing career but began a coaching career that shined like newly refinished basketball hardwood. He coached at his alma mater, Oak Park, California Lutheran University and finally, Westlake.

He poured himself into coaching, which is why many were shocked when Kegley announced on social media on April 24 that he was stepping down from his position as Westlake’s varsity coach in order to better prioritize his family and mental health.

pic.twitter.com/vjRlEWisDl

— Kyle Kegley (@Coach_Kegley) April 24, 2024

“Coach Kegley is one of the good ones that deserves the best,” Westlake baseball coach Wally Barnett, who operates the scoreboard at games for basketball, replied to the post. “The fact of putting coaching on hold for family is admirable, I have enjoyed working with him for the 6 years I have been here.”

Kegley compiled an overall record of 144-75 in his eight seasons as Westlake’s head coach and guided the Warriors to a tie for the Marmonte League title in the 2023-24 season and an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals.

Many other coaches and Westlake supporters expressed kind feelings toward Kegley on social media. Kegley said over 100 people had reached out to him about his decision and that the week following was emotionally draining and, oftentimes, sleepless.

“I’m trying to come up with words to describe it and it’s difficult,” Kegley said. “Tough, rough, emotional, hard. However you want to explain it, it’s not something I wanted to do. It’s something I needed to do. The transition is going to take time.”

He remains firm on his decision and the reasoning behind it. His family includes a wife and two kids, ages 4 and 7, who are in the earliest phases of their own athletic careers. Now that coaching is removed from his life, he’ll be able to make it to their games and help shuttle them to and from practices.

Maybe, he said, he might even coach them someday. But it’s too soon to tell.

“I need to be there. I need to be more present with them,” Kegley said. “I probably took for granted that they’re my kids and my wife so they’re always going to want me to be there. You do that and it catches up to you over time and it starts to spiral.”

Kegley will remain an athletic coordinator for Westlake, so he’ll still be around campus and in attendance for sporting events. He’s also finalized summer schedules for the basketball team while working on winter schedules and doing uniform and equipment inventory.

“I’m going to make sure that it’s as smooth as possible for the next person just because of my love and care for the program,” Kegley said.

Westlake High School posted a letter addressed to the Westlake community on social media five days after Kegley announced his decision. It formally announced that the varsity boys basketball coach position was open, but most of the letter expressed appreciation and respect for the coach.

Thank you Coach Kegley! Our basketball program, players, and families are better because of your leadership, passion, and love. #WeAreWarriors pic.twitter.com/oA86v1GDHx

— Westlake HS (@WestlakeHS_CA) April 29, 2024

“It is not the titles or wins that Coach Kegley will leave behind,” read the letter. “It was the way that he went about his business. A detail-oriented man who gave every ounce to his program and in return received it from his players and staff.”

The characteristics that made Kegley such a beloved coach at Westlake won’t vanish with his previous job title. They still exist with the two titles he has a fresh grasp on: husband and father.

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