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Brathol resigns as EHS boys' hoops coach

Cory Brathol had a 23-41 record in three seasons as Ellsworth head coach. Herald file photo

Citing personal reasons, Cory Brathol has decided to step down as Ellsworth High School's boys' basketball head coach.

Brathol was hired as head coach in 2006 and had a three-year record of 23-41. In Middle Border Conference play, the Panthers were 12-30 with their best finish in the league coming this past season at 5-9. The team was 8-13 overall.

"I've been involved with basketball now for 20 years straight and with a young family in tow I've decided to take a step back," Brathol said. "This is not a decision I will reconsider. Hopefully I can regain the passion for the sport down the road."

Brathol said that being a high school coach in this day and age and keeping a program competitive is a full-time job on top of his regular teaching duties.

Having an open basketball coaching position comes at a difficult time for the EHS athletic department as it tries to fill the football head coaching position as well.

"We'll wait until late spring to start the search process. We won't post the position yet," EHS Athletic Director Ann Anderson said. "Obviously it becomes more of a challenge now with both football and basketball needing coaches at the same time but it's one we will meet."

Brathol said that whomever becomes the new head coach, which will be the fourth such coach since long-time head basketball coach Curt Dummermuth stepped down in 2001, has to encourage and inspire a certain number of players to take up the sport fulltime.

"What is needed is a group of kids, from each class and it doesn't have to be a lot, that make a commitment to the sport," Brathol said. "Not only does that mean working on their games during open gym, but also playing AAU ball over the summer, going to camps and such to improve their games. You can build a solid team and a solid program around such a core group.

"Not only that, but we need to put more emphasis on getting kids to workout in our weight room. Basketball is a physical game and you need strong players to be successful."

Whoever becomes the head coach will face the same challenges Brathol and his predecessors have had to deal with: a program that has not had a winning season since 2000 and has only one such winning season in the last 15 years. It's also a program that has not won a conference title since 1995, nor a regional title since 1971 nor a sectional title since 1941.

However, it should be pointed out that the last three seasons under Brathol the Panthers had won more games than they had the previous six and played more competitively.