High School

Lincoln HS Boys Basketball coach Heather Seely Roberts is eager to get started in PIL

High School

History is in the making in the Portland Interscholastic League.

With the rich sports history of the PIL, Lincoln High School is looking for answers to turn its boys basketball program around.

Lincoln High School has hired Heather Seely Roberts to head up the team.

Roberts will be the first female head coach of a boys team in the PIL and at the 6A level. 

Along with her two sons, twins Moroni and Malachi, the family is transferring to the PIL.

This isn’t the first high school boys basketball program that she has taken over though.

It was just three years ago when Roberts became the first woman to coach a boys basketball program in the state of Oregon when she took over a struggling Yamhill-Carlton program.

Before Roberts was hired at Yamhill-Carlton, the team managed just three wins with a 3-12 overall record.

The following season under Roberts the Tigers went 16-11. And in just three seasons she turned a losing program into 3A State Champions after going 13-4 and defeating Cascade Christian, 52-48, in the 3A title game.

 

Roberts had a successful career coaching girls basketball in Oregon ahead of her three-year run at Yamhill-Carlton, making the playoffs 14 times out of 17 seasons while coaching girls basketball at Ashland, Lakeridge, Canby and Sprague.

“I coached girls for probably 20 years at various high schools around the state,” Roberts recently told NBCSNW. “Then I went and I was doing college for four years at Southern Virginia University and at that point I could see that [my boys] were going to be pretty good at basketball, so I decided I wanted to coach my own kids. I thought that would be fun.”

I started putting feelers out there to see what people would think about a woman coaching, because in the state of Oregon at the time, there were no women coaching boys basketball.

Coach Heather Seely Roberts

But Roberts changed that. 

During the pandemic with OSAA postponing high school basketball until May, Roberts and her twin sons moved to Moab, Utah where she took a job coaching the boys team at Grand County High School.

She led the Red Devils to a 22-4 record with a fifth-place finish at the Utah 3A state tournament before returning to Yamhill-Carlton.

“[We] had a great run at Yamhill-Carlton,” Roberts told NBCSNW. “I was planning on going back and then Jeff Peeler [of the PIL District Athletic Office] called me this summer when Lincoln opened up and asked if I’d be interested in coming to Lincoln.”

There were many factors that went into Roberts taking the Lincoln job, but it really came down to a family decision.

I think the chance for the boys to play at the 6A level and in the PIL was a really big draw... We figured if we’re going to play at the next level or have that opportunity, we better be able to play against the best kids here to see what they can do.

Heather Seely Roberts

The Roberts will be commuting from Newberg, but Heather says her new team “has been really welcoming” and many of the players have already taken her sons under their wings. 

As Roberts and Lincoln gear up for this upcoming season, she will be taking over a program that has struggled to string together victories. Over the past three seasons, Lincoln has won a total of 14 games.  

Comparing last year’s team to this year’s, height will be a big difference.

Roberts' twins stand at 6’6” and 6’8.” Plus, they will have a 6’10” center, who transferred from Central Catholic.

 

“Last year, Lincoln only won a couple of games,” Roberts explained. “That being said, I don’t think you can really judge anything because of the COVID season and they have a brand new coach. I would not have wanted to be a brand new coach in last year’s COVID season because you just didn’t get any practice time.”

So far, Roberts has only seen what her team can do while watching them play pickup games as the team has yet to have a full practice.

But Roberts and her two sons are ready for the challenge. 

We didn’t come here just to play, we came here to win.

Heather Seely Roberts

“We want to compete, obviously, to get to the playoffs and we’d like to compete to get to the State tournament.”