Girls Basketball

Chad Cruthis resigns as Lebanon girls basketball coach

After coaching basketball at Lebanon High School for 16 years, the last five as head coach of the Greyhounds girls program, Chad Cruthis has announced his resignation.

Cruthis, 48, met with his team Wednesday to give it the news that he would not return for the 2019-2020 season.

The decision comes one year after Cruthis guided the Greyhounds to a third place finish at the Class 1A State Tournament. This past season, Lebanon finished 22-12 and won a fifth straight regional championship.

But with his son Jackson undergoing a second kidney transplant in February — receiving a healthy organ donated by his father — and the desire to spend more time with his family, Cruthis is leaving coaching.

At least for now.

“After getting to the state tournament last year a lot of coaches might have thought it would have a good time to retire. I decided to come back one more year and see what transpired,’’ Cruthis said. “Since that time, the situation with my son needing and having a second kidney transplant came about.

“I have always treated my players like family and I have always told them that family and faith have to come first. If I am telling them that family comes first, then I can’t keep putting mine on the back burner. I don’t know what the future is going to hold for my son and being a coach and athletic director. I missed a lot of my daughter’s athletic activities when she was younger. I can’t get those years back.”

Cruthis plans on remaining as the Greyhounds athletic director for at least one more year.

Cruthis began coaching at Lebanon in 2002 when he took over the boys basketball program. In 11 years, he led the Greyhounds to a record of 175-157. After taking a year off, Cruthis returned to the sidelines as the Greyhounds’ girls coach.

“It wasn’t planned. We got into a situation where we needed a coach and I told them I would do it,’’ Cruthis said. “I had never coached girls before and the first thing I did was call my dad because I knew that he had.

“It wasn’t set that I would remain as the girls coach. We went a couple of years , but I just never really found the person I was comfortable with to take over the program. I felt this group had a lot of potential and I was right.’’

Led by two sets of twins, Krista and Kendra Bass and Emily and Abigail Reinneck, the Lebanon girls program has flourished. The Greyhounds are 130-24 in the past five seasons and have won five straight Cahokia Conference divisional championships and five straight Class 1A regional titles.

His combined record with the Lebanon boys and girls program is 305-181.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and be alright with the fact that you have reached the point that other things have to take priority. I’ve reached that point,’’ Cruthis said. “I don’t think I’m through coaching.

“I wouldn’t mind being an assistant for somebody or scouting. I still love to teach the game and I’ve had people ask me about giving individual lessons, something where I wouldn’t have run everything. Basketball, like a lot of sports, has become a 12-month sport now.’’

Dean Criddle has worked at the Belleville News-Democrat for 32 years as a sports writer. Dean graduated from SIUE with a double major in journalism and English, is married and lives in Belleville.