Sage Ridge School announced last week that it has named Jelani Gardner as the new boys and girls Varsity and Junior Varsity Head Coach for basketball. He will also serve as Assistant Athletic Director alongside Sierra Starbuck, the current Interim Athletic Director.
Gardner brings vast experience playing and coaching basketball. Gardner played college basketball for the University of California, Berkeley Division I basketball team from 1994-1999 before transferring to Pepperdine’s Division I basketball team from 1997-1999. He was the California Interscholastic Federation player of the year in 1994 and was on the All West Coast Conference First Team in 1998 and 1999. Gardner was also invited to the 1999 NBA draft. Gardner played professionally with clubs from 1999-2011 before beginning his coaching career in 2012.
Most recently, Gardner was at Los Altos High School from 2020-2022 as the Assistant Varsity and Offensive Coach where they made the Southern California Championship game both seasons. During the 2022-2023 season, he joined as Assistant Varsity and Offensive Coach at West Ranch High School where they were ranked 23 in the country.
“I’m really excited and honored to have this opportunity. It’s always been a dream of mine to come to a school and build a program into something special,” says Gardner. “I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to work with the youth here at Sage Ridge School and teach them basketball, along with discipline, teamwork, selflessness, and the desire to be the best.”
Starbuck has been part of the Sage Ridge community since 2020 when she began coaching Varsity Girls Volleyball. She now serves as the Interim Athletic Director. She has played volleyball since before high school and helped facilitate the University of Nevada, Reno Volleyball club team where she played for three years.
“I’m excited to take on this interim position at Sage Ridge and work with Jelani on athletics. I see so much potential in the athletic program especially with the new Student Activity Center. Jelani will do great things for the basketball program and athletics here as a whole,” says Starbuck.
Sage Ridge School’s Head, Dr. Ginger Hovenic, says “We are so lucky to have Jelani stepping into this role as Head Coach for our basketball program as well as our Assistant Athletic Director. He brings so much experience along with a fantastic attitude and vision for where the basketball and athletics program can go and will be building on Sage Ridge's success over the past two years. I look forward to working with him and we are beyond thrilled to welcome him to the Sage Ridge and Reno community.”
Welcome to Sage Ridge, Jelani!
Jelani introducing himself to the community.
Jelani meeting parents and students at Sage Ridge School.
Jelani meeting current basketball players at Sage Ridge School.