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Firth resigns as Southwestern coach
, Courier Sportswriter
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:00 AM
Andy Firth was 20-67 in four seasons at Southwestern.
Andy Firth resigned as head boys varsity basketball coach at Southwestern High School on Monday after four years on the job.
Firth, a 1998 graduate of Southwestern and former player under then head coach Jerry Bomholt, compiled a 20-67 record in his time on the bench. His overall record stands at 32-121 after spending the first three years of his head coaching career at Caston High School where he was 12-54 including a sectional crown in 2009 with a group that began tournament play with a 1-19 mark.
In his resignation letter, Firth cited wanting more family time with his wife and daughter while also pursuing his administrator's license from Western Governors University. The family is also anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child at the end of the summer.
For Firth, the reasons for taking a break from the grueling tasks of head coaching were far too important to ignore.
"It was a decision that took a few weeks but by spring break I knew that stepping down was the best decision for me and my family," Firth said in a phone interview on Monday evening. "It's just time. I've had a basketball season to get ready for since third grade and I don't know what it's like to go without one. I was able to do some great things as a player and win a sectional as a head coach. Unfortunately that goal did not happen here but I'm leaving knowing I've fulfilled a lot in my career."
As a player, Firth had a stellar four-year career in Hanover, helping lead the Rebels to a 1998 Class 2A State Runner-Up finish while also joining the school's 1,000 point club. But he was unable to achieve the same success while coaching his alma mater.
After back-to-back seven win seasons in his first two years - including a third place finish in the Ohio River Valley Conference in 2011-2012 - Southwestern won just five games two years ago and finished 1-21 this past season with a group that featured just one player with any varsity experience.
While injuries and other factors beyond Firth's control hampered Southwestern significantly over the past two years, the coach looks back fondly of his time on the Rebel sideline.
"I never got into coaching because of ego, I got in it for the kids," Firth said. "I've enjoyed watching the kids I've coached grow as players and grow into fine young men. No matter what, I've enjoyed the seasons I've had and I haven't been disappointed with the teams I've had here at Southwestern. I'm still going to be around and be at games but it's time for a change. I'm excited to serve the school in other capacities."
Southwestern athletic director Tom Scroggins, a former teammate of Firth's, said the coach will be missed but that a search is already under way to find a replacement.
"I am sorry to see coach Firth step down, but I understand the toll it takes to be a father of young children and being a coach at the same time," Scroggins said in a prepared statement. "Coach Firth was and always will be a great role-model for our students, and a great ambassador for our school. I thank him for all he has done for our programs over the years."
Firth will remain at Southwestern, serving as the dean of students, a position he has served in since returning to Hanover. He also said a return to coaching at some point is not out of the question, but it won't happen anytime soon.
"I'm not going to shut the door on that thought completely but for now I just want to be a spectator," Firth said. "Either I'll get the itch to come back or I'll look back, say it was a fun time and continue doing what I'm doing right now."
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