After 13 years at three different high schools, Steve Roustio thought it was time to do something else when he resigned as the boys basketball coach at Granite City High School following the 2015-16 season.
But after working as an assistant coach at Wood River High School a year ago, Roustio is back among the metro-east head coaching fraternity. Roustio, 56, was officially named as the new coach at Dupo High School on Wednesday.
“You never know how you are going to feel once you step away from the game. When I decided to turn over the Granite City boys basketball program, I thought I was ready,” Roustio said. “But being the leader of a program for 13 years straight after being an assistant for many years and doing it at three different high schools, I don’t know if anybody can be certain.
“When this opportunity presented itself, I look at it as a blessing because I don’t think I was really ready to give it up. I still feel like there is something left in the tank. I still feel like I have a lot to give in teaching the kids the game of basketball.”
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Roustio, who is an assistant cross country coach at Granite City, spent eight seasons as the Warriors coach, compiling a mark of 68-149 record.
Roustio also spent time as the head coach at Petersburg Porta and Highland and served two stints as an assistant under Bob Bone at Collinsville. He is the son of Mel Roustio, who coached at Edwardsville High School for several seasons and spent 21 years at Jacksonville High School. Mel Roustio also coached at Decatur Eisenhower and Stephen Decatur in Decatur.
Roustio takes over a Dupo program that has struggled in recent years. The Tigers were 6-21 a year ago and have not had a winning season since 2005-06 while competing in the Cahokia Conference.
Despite several disappointing seasons, the Tigers program is one Roustio has always found interesting.
“The Dupo program is one that I have had interest in the past and for one reason or another it didn’t pan out,” he said. “I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but I guess a lot of it has to do with timing.
“Meeting the (Dupo) administration and after sitting down for two days and sharing philosophies with I guess four different people, this opportunity just seemed like a really good fit.”
Despite getting the job just days before the start of official practice, Roustio is somewhat familiar with the Tigers program and knows about their recent history of sub-500 records. But Roustio liked the toughness he saw from the Tigers team a year ago.
“I thought they did a good job putting the ball in the basket. I liked the way they hustled and how hard they played,” Roustio said. “Plus I thought they were much improved when I saw them later in the season than they were earlier.
“No, they haven’t had a lot of success recently, but anymore I think you can improve by looking out for one another on defense and playing hard on each possession. Once that happens and the kids start having some success and maybe finding themselves in games they haven’t been in before, I think the kids may start to believe what the coach is telling them about playing good defense on each possession really works.’’
Routstio knows it will take time to develop a winning formula at Dupo, although he does feel his team can be competitive and win games. One thing is certain, Roustio is thrilled to be back as a head coach.
“Not only am I extremely thankful for the opportunity to share the great game of basketball with young kids, I feel immensely blessed to be back in a leadership role, preparing my team,” Roustio said. “I believe we are going to do some very nice things during the next few years with the Dupo basketball program.”