The Lincoln Cardinals selected Heather Roberts as their new boys varsity basketball coach. Roberts is believed to be the first female head coach of a boys 6A varsity basketball sports team in state history.
“I did a lot of thinking and praying. I wanted to make sure it was the right fit,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to compete at the 6A level and in the best league in the state.”
Roberts spent the past three seasons as coach of the boys team at Yamhill-Carlton. Roberts led the Tigers to the Class 3A state title with a win over Cascade Christian in June. Roberts guided a team that won just four games three years ago to being crowned the state champions, giving the Tigers their first boys state title since 1992.
Roberts became the first female coach in Oregon history to lead a boys team to a state title.
“I’m feeling sad to leave Yamhill-Carlton,” Roberts said. “We built that program.”
Roberts, who replaced Joel Lincoln, will take over a Lincoln program that has struggled in recent seasons.
The Cardinals posted a 2-15 record under Lincoln last season and they have a record of 14-51 over the past three seasons while playing in the very tough PIL that includes perennial powers Jefferson Democrats and Grant Generals. The Cardinals have not posted a winning record since the 2018 season.
Roberts said making the jump from the 3A level to 6A will present some challenges, but she does have 6A coaching experience. Roberts was a 6A girls coach for 17 years, accumulated 266 wins coaching Ashland, Lakeridge, Canby and Sprague. Her teams made the playoffs 14 times, and played in six state tournaments.
The challenges are the same for any coach – getting the players to buy in to what you’re teaching,” Roberts said. “Going into 6A is going to be different in that you’re going against better players. We have to figure out how do we get more competitive and become successful.”
Roberts will bring talent to the existing squad at Lincoln. Roberts’ twin sons, Moroni and Malachi Seely-Roberts, will join her at Lincoln.
Moroni, a forward, led the Tigers in scoring and rebounds, was selected as the 3A Player of the Year last season. Malachi was named to the all-state first-team. The two will be juniors for the upcoming season.
After blazing a new trail at Yamhill-Carlton, Roberts has set her sights on Lincoln. She’s not worried about any challenges of being a female coach of a boys team after building a successful program at Yamhill-Carlton.
I didn’t have any problems at Yamhill-Carlton,” Roberts said. “Once the kids get used to it, they think I’m no different. It’s less of a novelty and more of me just being their coach.”