Red Bud boys basketball coach Dave Gillingham, a former assistant at Belleville East and Althoff, has resigned after eight seasons with the Musketeers.
"I had the good fortune of coaching in two very good programs early in my career at East and Althoff and truthfully, I probably took winning for granted," said Gillingham, whose teams were 100-140 at Red Bud. "Winning, though, isn't easy. You work just as hard in a 5-10 win season as you do in a 20-win season. When you're competitive by nature, losing takes its toll and that's the sole reason why it's time for me to step down."
Red Bud was 7-24 overall this season and 0-10 in the Cahokia Conference's Mississippi Division. The Musketeers will be playing in a new 1,200-seat gym next season, replacing a tiny facility believed to be one of the smallest in the metro-east.
"I hate to see him go, I like working with Dave," Red Bud Athletic Director Kevin Cartee said. "I just think he felt it was time to move on from here in Red Bud."
Gillingham, 47, said Red Bud was unable to maintain the kind of consistency and success it takes to compete against the region's top small-school programs.
Gillingham, who plans to keep teaching at Red Bud, was hired in 2006 to replace former Musketeers coach Phil Taylor. Taylor had two teams reach the regional championship games in 2005 and 2006, finishing runner-up both times.
"It was my goal to contend regularly for conference and regional championships and regrettably, we haven't gotten it done," Gillingham said. "So it's time to pass the baton here and let somebody else run with it. We've only won one regional in the last three decades (1989), but we've had some competitive teams and the pendulum will eventually swing back in that direction again."
A former basketball standout at Carrollton High, Gillingham doesn't believe his coaching days are done.
"After 25 years in the business my passion and energy level hasn't dipped one bit," he said. "I've had a love affair with basketball since Carrollton played in the sectional in 1973. I'm not sure what God has planned but if it's up to me, I'm going to be coaching a long time.
"Hopefully, I will be on the sidelines next year somewhere in one capacity or another. I don't know what it's like to go home after school in the winter but I do know that when I'm in a gym I couldn't be happier."
Cartee said at least one current Red Bud assistant has expressed interest in the head coaching vacancy. He also hopes to attract quality candidates from outside the district.
"Somebody that can bring some energy to kind of carry the program from the elementary (school) level all the way up to the high school," Cartee said. "We want to get Red Bud some basketball excitement. I don't know if we'll ever make it a basketball town, but we want kids to be excited about playing basketball."
Cartee said the new gym will be attached to the rear of the school, where three new science labs are also planned.
"We're hoping that might be able to attract somebody that wants to come down here," he said. "It's supposed to be ready by the start of next basketball season."