Basketball coach resigns

Basketball coach resigns

Story by Chris Reinoos

The Blugolds men’s basketball coach Kyle Green abruptly resigned last week effective April 16 after just one year at Eau Claire.

Green could not be reached for comment, but speaking at a press conference April 5, he mentioned family reasons as the main factor in the decision.

“After thoughtful and spiritual reflection, my family and I have decided that it is in our best interest to move back to Iowa and continue our journey in a place we truly consider home,” Green said.

Green was hired May 18 of last year to replace Terry Gibbons, who retired after 16 seasons on the Blugolds bench. In his lone season at Eau Claire, Green led the Blugolds to a 15-10 mark, including a 7-9 record and seventh-place finish in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Junior forward Dustin Kalien said Green informed the team of the resignation in a team meeting about an hour before the press conference. Kalien said the team will have to adjust quickly to a new coach.

“I was really looking forward to next season, and this doesn’t really change that,” Kalien said. “I know some of the guys are really disappointed, but we have to move on from here.”

At the press conference, Green said it was bittersweet to leave the Eau Claire community which he felt had embraced both he and his family. He also said the program should not suffer much from his departure.

“It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to coach and teach such an outstanding group of young men who I know will continue to have great success moving forward,” Green said.

The Blugolds will lose two seniors, guard Nick Bartlett and center James Pfitzinger, from this year’s team. But five players who started double-digit games are expected to return, including Kalien, leading scorer Jordan Petersen and forward Nick Craggs.

Bartlett said having to find a new coach just a year after hiring one could create uncertainty for a program that seemed to have a brighter future. But he said the athletic department, led by athletic director Scott Kilgallon, should be able to find another quality head coach.

“I’m very confident, with the administration we have here at Eau Claire, and with the search and screening committee that we’re gonna have, we’re gonna bring in another very solid coach,” Bartlett said.

Kilgallon was out of his office early this week and was unavailable for comment. But at the press conference April 5, Kilgallon expressed gratitude for Green’s service to Eau Claire.

“We want to thank Coach Green and his family for their contributions to the men’s basketball program over the past year,” Kilgallon said.

Last year, the coaching search yielded more than 130 applicants from across the nation. Kilgallon said he plans on conducting another thorough search and hopes to have a new head coach in place in the next six weeks.