Anthony Bonner Bids Adieu to Vashon

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Jennifer Silverberg
Bonner in the gym last year.
Vashon High School boys' basketball coach Anthony Bonner told me today that he's hung up his high-school whistle in order to pursue a new career opportunity with the New York Knicks.

Bonner quit substitute teaching at Vashon in December and spent his last day as the Wolverines' coach on Monday.

Assistant principal Marvin Talley, a former teacher and coach at Riverview Gardens High School, took over Tuesday.

"As much as I love those boys, and that school, and as [much as] I've been dedicated, I knew going in that this wasn't a five- or ten-year deal for me," Bonner says. "I proved I could do it, but there's much more to me to give than I was allowed to do at Vashon High School."

Bonner says he's working as an independent contractor for the Knicks at the moment -- making appearances at corporate events, basketball camps and games. He says he was forced to step down at Vashon before season's end (in March) because the Knicks can call him on a moment's notice to show up in New York. Bonner played two seasons for the Knicks in the mid-1990s.

Bonner says he is also looking at a coaching opportunity in the NBA Development League. "They have sixteen teams right now but are looking to start teams in four new markets."

Bonner leaves the Wolverines during the first year in which he had his "own" team. He took over three years ago after RFT revealed a decade's worth of cheating at Vashon under former coach Floyd Irons.

Afterward, the school had to hand over three state championship trophies and five seasons' worth of games. Bonner was picked to bring about change in the program.

"A lot of coaches said they wouldn't even think of applying for the job," Soldan International Studies High School boys' basketball coach Justin Tatum told RFT last year. "But Bonner is a strong guy, mentally and physically. He wasn't going to let anything get to him."

Vashon is 8-5 this season.

Bonner told me today that the career move may still give him the opportunity to continue training some Vashon students -- i.e., those shooting for the NBA.

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