Longtime Belleville West girls basketball coach Clayton Fisher reaffirmed Thursday that he is still “leaning toward” stepping down as the Maroons coach atfter nine years.
But if the recently completed 2014-15 season was Fisher’s last, it was an award winning one.
Fisher has been named Illinois Basketball Coaches Association High School Girls District 19 Class 4A Coach of the Year. The Maroons finished 25-6, captured the title at the Highland Tournament and won a regional title before having their season end in a 48-41 loss to Edwardsville in the Pekin Sectional semifinals.
The IBCA Coach of the Year honor is the second in three years for Fisher, who also won the award for the 202-13 season.
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“It’s a very nice honor. But a head coach is only as good as his players and assistant coaches around him. I was blessed to have both once again this year,” Fisher said. “We had a good year. We had a little trouble with Edwardsville and (Breese) Central but we weren’t alone in that respect. We won the games we were expected to win.”
Five of the Maroons six losses were to Edwardsville, which advanced to the Class 4A Bloomington Super-Sectional and Central, which placed second in the Class 2A State Tournament.
Fisher will be honored with the rest of the district winners at the IBCA Hall of Fame banquet, which will take place at the Illinois State University Student Union Ballroom in Normal on May 2.
“It should be a nice evening. It’s always nice to be honored by those involved in your sport and I’m looking forward to seeing coaches I’ve gotten to know throughout the years, but that I don’t get to see very often,” Fisher said. “I also believe that’s the night that Mater Dei coach (David) Kohnen will be inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame. It will be nice to be there for that.”
Fisher announced earlier this season that he would resign at the end of the year. Now, after having some second thoughts, the Maroons coach is closer than ever to making it official. Fisher said Thursday that he still had not turned in his letter of resignation.
“I’m still thinking about it. But I’m close to making the decision and leaning toward stepping down,” Fisher said. “I would say it will be in the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to drag this out any longer than I need to so that they (the administration) can get the process of getting the situation settled.
“Do I still love coaching? Yes. But it’s a year-long job. In the summer, you have your camps and summer league teams and then we start practicing in late October and the season goes until late February.
“Plus during the basketball season you’ve got your two big holidays of the year — Thanksgiving and Christmas — and with practice and tournaments, you are spending a lot of that time away from your family.”
Berry, Fluker honored
Fisher also announced Thursday at seniors Imani Berry and Shay Fluker have been named to play for the South team at IBCA Coaches All-Star Games, June 12-13 at Pontiac High School.
Fluker, a second team all-state selection, averaged 20.8 points per game, while Berry, an honorable mention honoree, averaged 19.4. Full rosters for the all-star games will be announced in the next few weeks.