SHADYSIDE - There are always a variety of reasons why coaches resign from their positions.
For Shadyside girls' basketball coach Tina Yates, quite simply, she wants to move on "to the next step in her life."
Thus, after eight highly successful seasons at the helm at her alma mater, Yates tendered her resignation late last week and informed her players of her decision Monday afternoon during a brief team meeting.
"I just think I'm ready," Yates said. "It was probably a couple of weeks ago that it just hit me that it was time. As hard as it is to walk away from such great, hard-working girls, I'm just ready for a change."
The decision hasn't come without some regret, second thought and roller coaster of emotions.
"There have been times when I think to myself, 'what am I going to do with all of time that I usually spent doing basketball things?'" Yates said. "I am certainly going to miss the girls, but the amount of time that this requires has just gotten to be too much. This has been an extremely tough decision and one I've wrestled with, but I?don't feel as if I?can invest the time that this job and the girls deserve."
During her stint as head coach, the Lady Tigers' program continued to be one of the area's best and most respected.
Yates compiled a strong 135-51 record during her tenure, including a perfect 20-0 regular season in 2010-11. It was also during that campaign that the LTs advanced to their third Division IV state tournament in school history.
"Going to Columbus definitely is what jumps out the most," Yates said without hesitation about her fondest memory. "Anyone who gets into coaching has the dream to get to the state tournament.
"As exciting as any on-court success was, it was just as important being able to touch the lives of these fine young ladies who've gone on to college and now are very successful."
Shadyside won two OVAC titles, including this past season, during Yates' tenure.
The Lady Tigers have played in five of the six conference championship games.
"I think the program is in as good a state as it's been," Yates said. "These are hard-working kids and they'll continue to be that way. These girls want to be the best and I know they'll work hard. Our cupboard isn't bare."
Shadyside, playing against a grueling schedule, posted a 17-8 record and advanced to the district tournament this season. During the course of the season, two Lady Tigers - Karli Bonar and Hayley Holenka - surpassed the 1,000-point mark. Bonar also etched her name into OHSAA history when she set the single-season and career record for 3-point goals.
"When I got this job, Karli, Hayley and Kristen (Fijalkowski) and these seniors were in the fourth grade and I thought I am definitely going to see them through," Yates said. "If you look down the line, there's more talent coming, too."
So what's the future hold for Yates in terms of coaching?
"I might coach again, who knows?," Yates said. "I am still young enough if I ever decide I want to get back into it."
Yates made it a point to express her deepested appreciation to several people, including: Terry Brinker, John Haswell, Ty Fleming, Gary Cunningham, John Triveri, Larry Falbo, Larry Duck, Bill Pratt, Kim Appolloni, John Stanko, Jim Fogle, Joe Mamone, Jeff Sabatino, her fiance Vic, her parents Sandy and Clyde, her grandmothers Daisy and Dora, her brother and assistant coach Clyde, assistant coaches Gregg Bonar, B.A. Holloway, Jenna Johnson-Coyne, Jillian Johnson-Ongley, Gloria Dorris, the Lady Tigers' parents, all of the managers and obviously her players.
"The entire Tiger community has been great," Yates said. "It's a special privilege to coach at your alma mater."
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org