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Contrary to reports, Orlando plans to return to coach Country Day next season WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando dismissed published reports that he was planning to retire after Saturday's championship game, saying he plans to be back to coach next season. (MIPrepZone photo by Matthew B. Mowery)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)
  • The Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets won the MHSAA Class B State Title by defeating the Ypsilanti Arbor Prep Gators 59-48. The Championship game was played on Saturday March 18, 2017 at The Jack Breslin Center in East Lansing. (MIPrepZone photo by Ken Swart)

EAST LANSING >> It would’ve been straight out of a movie script for the legendary coach to hang up his whistle after winning yet another state title, and ride off into the sunset.

It would have been only fitting that the coach who’s led more teams to the state girls basketball finals than any other in Michigan history should end his career in the final game of the season, right?

Well, this isn’t the sunset for Frank Orlando.

Despite published reports that, Orlando, who has spent 50 years coaching basketball in the state, the last 36 as the head coach of Birmingham Detroit Country Day’s storied girls program, would announce his retirement after Saturday’s Class B championship game, he did not.

Quite the contrary.

Orlando will be back for year No. 51 in 2017-18.

“No. Somebody said that, and I think it was a misconception, that I was all done,” Orlando said, after his No. 2-ranked Yellowjackets clinched a state-record 12th title with a 59-48 win over No. 1-ranked Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in the Class B title game at Michigan State’s Breslin Center Saturday night.

“I just love it so much that something keeps me going. I don’t know what it is, but I know I want to coach next year. I know that for sure.”

Certainly, it was not hard to think that the 74-year-old Orlando might consider retirement.

He’d been through a rough time, health-wise, last offseason, and he certainly has nothing left to prove.

Orlando came into Saturday’s title contest with 758 wins (a state record) and 113 losses. Before heading to Beverly Hills, he spent six years coaching football, basketball and baseball at St. Mary’s of Redford, then eight years doing the same at Warren Tower.

His Country Day teams have now accumulated a state-record 16 appearances in the finals, resulting in a state-record 12 championships.

“Me personally, I was playing for Coach O. In the offseason, he had a stroke. That just kind of hit me hard, so this season, I’ve just kind of been playing for him. I know how important it is for him,” senior Destiny Pitts said. “The way that Coach O, how he started with losing when he first started at Country Day, and turned it around. I think that says a lot about himself. We just always want to leave it all on the floor for Coach O, just because of the way he goes about things. He always puts people in front of himself.

“Coach O doesn’t really care about the wins, he’s more about the girls, so he wanted us to win this for us, but we wanted to win it for him.”

Watching Orlando tear up as the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday certainly didn’t work to dispel the rumors.

“It was emotional, because it was like my daughters playing basketball in the backyard. I just love that. I love it,” Orlando said, tearing up again, then later on, when asked about the players playing to win one for him.

“It’s hard to say, but it means the world to me. It’s why I got into coaching. I never thought — to tell you the truth — 50 years, but I never thought I would win one. Since I came to Country Day, we’ve won a couple, but I appreciate the sentiment and effort they gave.”

It’s possible, too, that Orlando was downplaying his own status, to keep the spotlight on his kids — that would be just his style to not want to take the attention away from the athletes themselves. Maybe he’ll change his mind in a few weeks or months, and renege on his definitive statement made Saturday night.

But what would Orlando do if he retired?

“I think Coach O, he’s going to be here for a minute, because he’d be bored. He wouldn’t know what to do with himself,” Pitts laughed.

If he comes back, he’ll certainly have plenty of talent left over, even with the graduation of Pitts (Minnesota), Tylar Bennett (Clemson), Sheldon Bochenek and Sydney Parker.

Juniors Kaela Webb (Marquette), Maxine Moore (Western Michigan) and sophomore Jasmine Powell return as starters, while 6-foot sophomore Adrian Folks got playing time each of the last two seasons. Country Day also gets transfers Maddie Novak (Lake Orion) and Jamia Elam (West Bloomfield) at the semester break.

“Yeah. I don’t know where that false statement (about retirement) came from, but me and Coach O, I think we have another one in us,” Webb said.

Last Updated: 3/18/2017 11:59:02 PM EST


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