GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Six years ago Kati Coleman took over the Bay Port girls basketball program and took it places it had never been, and that's why Wednesday's news of her stepping down caught everyone's attention.
With the new season approaching, hopefully, Coleman leaves after a terrific final two seasons in which Bay Port won a state, title, reached last year's state tournament (but never played due to COVID-19), captured three straight Fox River Classic Conference titles and compiled a 51-3 record.
Coleman had multiple reasons for stepping down.
"I took a lot of time thinking about this decision," Coleman said in an email. "A number of reasons went into it, but the two biggest were family and COVID. My family is very important to me. I work at KBX Logistics, and I have to practice at 5 p.m. every night.
"I would get home at 7-7:30 just to eat dinner and put my kids to bed. It just starts taking a toll and I wanted more family time."
Coleman and her husband, Kael, have two young children, Kace and Kaia, and she added how she has missed out on time with them because of coaching.
As for COVID-19, the unknown is problematic.
"We lived it last year as we watched our season come to an abrupt end and I don’t want that to happen again," she said. "I was talking to (assistant coach) Dennis (Gladwell) about the precautions that the WIAA is having teams take and I feel like I would be working more on COVID precautions than how to be a better basketball team on the court.
"The fact that no one can tell us what the plans are for the winter season are tough. Conferences cancelling winter seasons, some waiting it out. I tell you the waiting game is hard. I don’t want to remember basketball where we stop for two weeks because someone on the team got COVID and we have to quarantine.
"No fans watching the game? Wearing masks! Making a point to stay six feet away from each other. That’s not basketball and not how I want to remember basketball when I’m older. I don’t feel like I can give 100 percent in this environment and if I can’t give myself fully to the sport and the school that I’ve loved for years, it’s the right time to step down."
Coleman's overall record is an impressive120-30, an 80-percent winning percentage. When Bay Port needed a head coach six years ago to replace Steph Mathu, Coleman acknowledges Bay Port took a chance on the former Ashwaubenon and UW-Green Bay star..
"(Principal Mike) Frieder and (then-athletics director) Otis (Chambers) took a chance on me," she said. "I was coaching eighth grade basketball before I took the head-coaching job at Bay Port. I don’t know a lot of people that would do that. They put their faith in me to build a program and lead an amazing group of student athletes.
"I’ve coached 41 amazing young ladies in the past six years. Each one has taught me something different about life and basketball and I’m forever grateful for each and every one of them. I was also able to coach with my dad. Not a lot of daughters can say they won a state championship with their father.
"That’s something that will never be taken away from us and a memory that we get to share together every day of our lives. I’ve built great relationships with parents, other coaches within Bay Port and coaches around the state. Basketball has given me a ton of opportunities and I’m forever grateful for the 28.5 orange ball!"
And Bay Port is forever grateful for Coleman.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay