By Garth Shanklin
Less than a month after leading the Bethel-Tate Tigers boys’ basketball team to a league title, head coach Tom Jutze has stepped down from the helm.
Jutze inherited a team that went 1-22 in the season prior to his arrival. In three seasons, Jutze turned the team into a title contender, winning 12 games in his first season, 11 in his second, and 17 in his third. Nine of the 17 wins came in the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference’s National Division, which earned Jutze a share of the league’s coach of the year award this past season. In the end, however, one thing was more important than the success on the hardwood, and that’s why he chose to walk away.
“My family, I want to commit to my family,” Jutze said. “Being away from them was taking away too much time from me now.”
He added that the Tiger players were “understanding” when he broke the news to the team.
“They accepted it,” Jutze said. “They were fine with it. They understood where I was coming from, they knew where I needed to be, and they were very understanding about the situation.”
In a short three-year period, Jutze not only turned the program around, but made lasting memories in both the gym and the Bethel community.
“I have wonderful memories of Bethel-Tate and the three years we were there,” Jutze said. “The progress we made within those three years and the kids’ commitment to the program throughout the summer. Their dedication to raising the bar for bethel basketball. I have nothing but great memories of the school and the community.”
Bethel-Tate athletic director Matt Koenig said in an emailed statement that the school will miss Jutze, but they respect his decision to put his family first.
“Coach Jutze put his heart and soul into this program and sacrificed a lot of time away from his own children to coach and teach the athletes at Bethel-Tate,” Koenig said. “I know I speak for the players and parents in our community that he brought back pride in our boys program and he will be missed greatly. The seniors gained an experience that they will never forgot, and the underclassmen have a feeling of what it takes to be successful. Yes, losing a coach isn’t always the best news to get as an Athletic Director but working closely with Tom for three years, I respect his decision of spending more time with family. The new sense of pride in our program makes Bethel-Tate a more respectable program and Coach Jutze’s legacy will be remembered by that.”