The Lombard legacy carries on at Canyon
Tate Lombard, right, was named the Canyon Lady Eagles new head basketball coach Thursday. Tate will takeover for his father and Hall of Fame Canyon coach Joe Lombard, who announced his retirement after 42 years of coaching on April 7. [Ashley Eller/ For Press Pass Sports]
The legendary name Lombard will continue in Canyon.
As expected, Canyon ISD didn’t waste any time naming Tate Lombard the heir apparent to take over for his Hall of Fame father, Joe Lombard, to lead the Lady Eagles basketball team into the future.
“I’m very excited to get started,” Tate said about his new role. “It’s a program rich in tradition and expectation. To be a part of it last year, and now getting to lead it going forward is something I’m ready for.”
For Joe, who announced his retirement after a stellar 42-year coaching career, during a Zoom press conference on April 7, he couldn’t think of a more storybook way to see his program that he won 13 UIL state championships move forward any other way.
“First thing I want to say is how appreciative I am of Canyon ISD. I can’t thank superintendent Doctor Darryl Flusche, Canyon principal Jennifer Boren, and athletic director Toby Tucker enough for making this happen,” said Lombard, who retired with 1,379 career wins to 133 losses, and six Hall of Fame inductions. “All I can say is, life is great. It’s like living a dream for Tate to get the job and take over the program. I’m still going to be attached as a volunteer assistant. I’m going to active in a lesser role, but be a big part of the program.”
The decision to move Tate into the head coaching position to succeed his father was what Canyon ISD athletic director Toby Tucker called a “no brainer”.
“Of course we value past and all coach Joe Lombard did over his 35 years in Canyon,” Tucker said. “Now we’re so excited about the future. Tate is a proven winner. He’s one of the best head coaches in the state, he’s won state championships, so we we’re excited for him to carry on the great tradition of Lady Eagles basketball.”
Tate spent last season next to his father Joe as an assistant on the Lady Eagles staff. Prior to that, Tate led Wall to a 236-48 record including two UIL Class 3A state championships in eight years. [Cliff Lawson/ For Press Pass Sports]
Before sitting next to Joe on the bench as an assistant so he could see the day-to-day operations last season, Tate, 36, grew his own reputation for eight remarkable years at Wall. From 2012-2019, Tate’s Lady Hawks squad never missed the playoffs, and won two UIL Class 3A state championships in three state appearances.
“It was extremely tough to leave Wall,” said Tate, who was 236-48 during those eight years. “To me it was important to come to Canyon to learn the in and out of program. Not a lot coaches get that chance. To learn the daily routine and get relationship with the players and the coaches put me in good position.”
As for putting his own stamp on the Lady Eagles. Tate does expect to be his own coach, but as the ole’ saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
“I feel things have been put in place here and will not be change,” Tate said. “That’s why it worked so well for decades. I will be myself and do my best to lead the way I can. My father taught me the standard of how to do things, and there’s so many of his tools we’ll use to grow in the future.
“It’s been awesome to learn under my dad. We helped each other out and when I was at Wall. He probably helped me out more than I did him, but to be in Canyon a full year and getting how he prepared for practice and games, you don’t realize how much time, energy and detail goes into that. That’s made me a better coach and assume this role going forward.”