BELOIT - Despite his best season in three years as West Branch boys varsity head basketball coach, John Hancock won't be back for a fourth.
The West Branch Board of Education asked Hancock to resign earlier this week.
"In the end it wasn't my decision," Hancock said. "I spoke to the players this afternoon. I wasn't going to quit on them."
Hancock went 19-44 in his three seasons leading the Warriors. Last season was his best as the team went 10-11.
A call to superintendent Scott Weingart wasn't returned Friday.
"Unfortunately we didn't win enough games," Hancock said. "If that's the reason they had I can't argue with that. We dealt with some injuries and some inexperience, but I thought we got better each year. This past season our kids gave us everything they had."
West Branch swept the season series with rival Salem, beat the previously unbeaten East Liverpool Potters and were 9-6 at one point during the year. But the team dropped five of its last six including their opening tournament contest against Southeast.
"I have great memories of my coaching West Branch and great memories this year," Hancock said. "The first win against Salem was one of the most exciting games I've ever been a part of. They're great kids to be around. The hardest part was telling them I wasn't going to be back."
West Branch ranked in the top 20 in the state in team GPA (3.6).
"We had things going in the right direction," Hancock said. "That's the disappointing part. I was preparing a big summer for us to build off of what we did this season."
Hancock, who teaches sixth grade social studies at West Branch Middle School, said it was too soon to make any kind of decision on where or when he might coach again.
"I don't know," he said. "I've coached the past 17 years. It's kind of in my blood. I see myself coaching at some level, even helping out just to be around the game. It was kind of a dream job for me to come back and coach where I graduated. I definitely wish we could've won more games."