Lonnie Tvrdy’s 20-year tenure at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy as the school’s athletic director and girls basketball coach has come to a close with him stepping down to pursue other interests.
Ken Urdahl, a former high basketball referee and assistant coach with the Flowing Wells girls and Tucson High boys basketball programs, is the new girls basketball coach at Pusch Ridge.
Amy Garnand, who was the PRCA’s middle-school athletic director, takes over that role for Tvrdy at the high school. She will be in her 10th year with PRCA, seven of which were as a physical education teacher at the high school.
New Pusch Ridge girls basketball coach Ken Urdahl has an extensive background as a high school hoops referee and as an assistant with the Flowing Wells girls and Tucson High boys basketball programs. pic.twitter.com/mqqzCyXVOq
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 13, 2023
Tvrdy was 436-138 in his 20-year tenure with Pusch Ridge’s girls basketball program. He led the the Lions to four straight 2A state championships from 2004 to 2008.
“I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish there,” Tvrdy said Monday. “A lot of great memories.”
Urdahl, a former standout Salpointe golfer, is well known in Southern Arizona high school basketball circles dating to when he was an AIA referee in the 1990s.
He endured knee surgeries that precluded him from officiating and was welcomed by Flowing Wells girls basketball coach Michael Perkins to join the staff there in 2019. He was part of Eric Langford’s staff with the Tucson High boys program the last two seasons.
“It’s just awesome; it’s nice to run whatever I want to do and kind of being in charge,” said Urdahl, who was also the boys golf coach at Flowing Wells, where he served as a special education teacher. “It’s a little scary, also, but it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot more responsibility than I thought going into it.”
He mentioned he leads the Pusch Ridge program at all age levels — middle school, freshman, junior varsity and varsity.
“I’m in charge of the whole program, so it’s really nice,” he said. “I can get the junior high kids to learn my language, my lingo, how I talk, into the high school kids. It will be nice to get everything flowing and going really, really well.
“They have a lot of talent and I’m still getting to know the kids.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.