LA North: Thousand Oaks boys basketball coach Rich Endres returns earlier than expected

Thousand Oaks boys basketball coach Rich Endres will return to the bench tonight in his team’s game against Agoura, 12 days after a blood clot was discovered behind his left knee.

Endres is returning to coaching earlier than expected. When the clot was first discovered, his doctor told him he would have to stay off his feet for at least two weeks. He could have been away from coaching his basketball team and teaching for three months.

“I’ll be back tonight,” Endres said. “No restrictions. It’s hard all of sudden to do nothing. I’ve seen enough TV. I want to get back to my life.”

The 57-year-old Endres returned to teaching physical education on Tuesday at Thousand Oaks High School. His doctor prescribed rest and blood thinners. He will keep taking the blood thinners for six months. At that time, his doctor will re-evaluate his condition and proceed from there.

“In six months, we’ll make a decision,” Endres said. “There was no reason for it to happen.”

Endres has been the boys basketball coach at Thousand Oaks since 1998. He won the CIF Southern Section Division 2-AA championship in 2009 and took his team to the section finals two other times, the first in 2002 and again in 2006.

Endres said he wasn’t able to tell his players in person about his condition. He let his coaching staff explain to the players what happened.

“I visited a couple of practices,” Endres said. “I told them it will be different, but not a lot different. I think they handled it very well.”

His team went 3-0 in his absence, including a narrow, 63-60 win on the road against Royal. Thousand Oaks is 18-2 and leads the Marmonte League standings with a 7-1 record.

“Road games are all going to be tough,” Endres said. “Everybody is going to give you their best game. You can’t look forward to the next game.”

Endres said he doesn’t want to change his approach to coaching, even after the blood clot.

“My wife and family want me to take a different approach to it,” Endres said. “I might sit down a little more. I feel good. This was unfortunate. This puts things into perspective for me. It’s not all about me. But my coaching style is not going to change.”