West Ranch basketball coach Shant Bicakci resigns

Shant Bicakci talks to the West Ranch boys basketball team in January of 2017. Dan Watson/The Signal

Shant Bicakci, the West Ranch basketball coach known for his courtside energy, was well on track for another successful Foothill League season.

The Wildcats were out to a 4-0 start and eager to make the postseason once again.

But Bicakci had some personal matters weighing on his mind that prompted the typically dynamic coach to quietly resign.

“This is the best decision for me,” said Bicakci. “I think most of the people that know and care about me respected the decision and support my decisions even though it’s very difficult for me to leave the team.”

He officially resigned on Thursday, but notified West Ranch athletics of his intentions earlier this week.

“He told us that he was leaving for personal reasons and he’s given us seven years,” said et Ranch athletic director Cassandra Perez. “So I am grateful for the time that he was with us.”

It wasn’t a snap decision for Bicakci, who declined to reveal extensive details about his decision.

“We’re 4-0 and we’re going … I really felt like this was the best time to do it even though it’s not ideal,” he said. “I had to do it now and I couldn’t wait until after the season.”

Bicakci coached the Wildcats since the 2010-11 season, guiding the program to six CIF-Southern Section playoff appearances. He helped the Cats to a share of the Foothill League title in 2012 and an outright title in 2013.

Sean McKillop, who previously was an assistant coach for six years, will take over as interim head coach. Ron Manalastas will be assisting him.

“I think Sean brings a cool, collected manner,” said Perez. “Sean and Shant have always kind of played off each other and been a good duo.”

Manalastas is a former West Ranch girls head basketball coach and is returning to the Wildcats after a six-year hiatus.

Bicakci emphasized that the program is in good hands and only expects success.

“Those kids have been giving me everything since they’ve been there and I’ve given everything to them,” he said. “I’ll be there supporting them as much as I can.

“I’ll always have their back and cheering them on. I have full confidence in their season and their success, especially with Sean there to keep things going.”

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