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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Dexter coach steps down

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

(Photo)
Former Dexter basketball coach Eric Sitze.
DEXTER -- Three weeks after the Dexter school board decided to retain Eric Sitze as the head boys basketball coach, Sitze announced his resignation from the position on Monday morning.

"I feel like Dexter wants to go in a different direction," said Sitze. "They want somebody else to coach there and if I'm not wanted, I just feel like it's best that I step down and let them find whoever they want to coach."

Sitze, who spent the last five years as the head coach and spent five years as an assistant coach prior to that, attained a record of 99-39 in his five years, including Dexter's first district championship in 28 years in 2004 and the school's first ever final four appearance.

He had four straight 20-win seasons, won four straight Bloomfield Christmas Tournament championships and three straight Stoddard County Conference championships.

But the team had its share of struggles this past season as they went 10-16 for their first losing campaign since 1998.

It was the first time in Sitze's five years that the Bearcats failed to reach the district final, sparking grumbling in the community.

"A lot of people have asked if there was some pressure," said Dexter athletic director Gavin Miller. "When you have a losing season there's always going to be some moans and groans. But I really can't answer how much pressure he's got and where it's come from."

In late March, the school board voted to retain Sitze as the head coach, but it wasn't enough to keep him in the coaching profession.

Sitze said the past few month's transgressions won't taint what he accomplished at Dexter.

"I've had a good time at Dexter -- it's been a lot of fun," said Sitze. "I'm not going to let this bother me. What happens now doesn't affect what's happened in the past. It's been a good experience. We've had a lot of good seasons and I've had a lot of good kids come through. I couldn't ask for a better five years."

Sitze said he plans to continue coaching the golf team and teach P.E. Sitze didn't say whether or not he wants to coach again.

"I think he's had a great career," said Miller. "If I could have his five years with four 20-win seasons and a final four, I'd trade with him. How many coaches in southeast Missouri can say they've had four 20-win seasons. He's a fine coach and he's done a great job here."

Although no official candidates have been named, Miller said there are currently no teaching positions open at Dexter.

Daniel Sexton, Rob Nichols and Chuck Powers are the current assistant coaches at Dexter, but there is no word on if they are interested in the position.