“With his outstanding basketball coaching knowledge and experience, we believe Mr. Slopek will do an excellent job building on the tradition of excellence established in our men’s basketball program,” wrote Centennial athletics and activities manager Jeannie Prevosto in an email. “Mr. Slopek is an exceptional role model who puts students first. … We have no doubt that our men’s basketball program will continue to meet their challenges and be successful with Mr. Slopek and our staff.”
Slopek is taking over for Chris Sanders, who led the Eagles to a 19-6 record in his only season at the helm. Sanders took over for Chad Hollwedel, who won 193 games in his 12 years as the Eagles’ head coach.
“I’m taking a break from basketball to pursue other professional opportunities,” wrote Sanders in a statement.
Slopek said it was a difficult decision to leave the girls program. He wasn’t looking to coach boys basketball, but when the job was open, he decided it would be a good change for himself and the program.
“It was a tough decision,” Slopek said. “I love the girls in our program. I’ve been coaching girls for 15 years, so it wasn’t like I was looking to go to the boys side. It was that I don’t know how much longer I’ll be coaching, and I like change and that’s why I decided to go for it.”
Slopek started coaching the varsity girls at Centennial in 2005 at 24 years old. He coached from 2005-06 to 2009-10, amassing 75 wins and winning a regional championship in his final season. He was then associate head coach for the Stevenson University women’s basketball team for seven years before returning to Centennial in 2017-18.
“I don’t see much changing,” he said. “I think on the boys side more of those guys play AAU. I think that’s really the only difference.”
He added that if he went to a different school to coach boys, the transition could be challenging. However, at Centennial, Slopek said the close relationship between the girls and boys basketball coaching staffs will give him a leg up.
“I’m really excited, and our situation at Centennial is so unique. The relationship we had at Centennial between the boys and girls staff was unique,” Slopek said. “We had respect for each other, and we helped each other out. I think the transition will be easier for me because of that.”