Too much to do and too little time.
That’s how Chris Bessey sums up his decision to step down as the girls’ basketball coach at Jay High School. Bessey informed the team’s players last week that he was resigning from the program after eight seasons.
“I sat down last week with the juniors, next year’s seniors,” said Bessey, who is also the school’s athletic administrator and the baseball coach at the University of Maine at Farmington. “It was probably one of the toughest experiences I’ve had, telling them that I was getting done. It definitely wasn’t an easy one. There were definitely a lot of tears by them and by myself.”
Between an active family and three jobs demanding his time and commitment, the decision was a matter of juggling that schedule. A low-paying and time consuming passion like coaching proved to be too much to maintain amidst everything else.
“It pretty much came down to the time commitment,” said Bessey. “There were a lot of times that I was just tired. There wasn’t a chance to slow down.
“Unfortunately, on the list of priorities, which was hard to say to the girls, the girls’ job was something that was down near the bottom,” he added. “If I’m going to start cleaning my plate off and free up time, obviously the girls’ job is at the bottom of the list.”
Bessey coached the Tigers’ program for eight seasons, making the playoffs every year. Jay reached the Augusta Civic Center seven times in those eight seasons and won the MVC title and Class C state championship in 2009.
The Tigers went 15-3 this season before losing in the Western C quarterfinals. Jay was the only team to beat eventual Class C state champion Hall-Dale.
In the last year, Bessey became the head baseball coach at UMF and also took the administrative position at Jay. After taking both jobs, Bessey chose to continue on as the girls’ coach, hoping to be able to juggle the responsibilities of all three.
With his son, Jake, a senior next year in high school and daughter, Alex, in middle school, it was becoming difficult to do the work and not have it impact family life.
Between the many athletic events each week, missing his kid’s games and late nights of doing homework, the schedule was taxing on both Bessey and his family.
Though all parents juggle hectic jobs and family life, Bessey was doing all that while trying to make the Tigers one of the best teams in Western C.
“We did that and coached at the same time,” said Bessey. “That made us as a family that much more active. It wasn’t a change. It wasn’t like I was unprepared. I still did scouting and still had practice plans. I still did all that planning. It just came to a point there I felt it was enough.”
Bessey had the winter sports banquet Monday and then was preparing to leave the state Tuesday with the UMF baseball team for a spring trip South. He doesn’t rule out a return to coaching basketball at some point but felt that this was the right decision at this time.
“It was a tough decision,” he said. “It’s not something I wanted to do, but it was something that came to a time to do it.”
Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
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