Quaker girls coach resigns

SALEM-The Salem Board of Education accepted the resignation of girls basketball coach Steve Stewart Monday.

Stewart steps down a year into his second stint as Salem girls coach after guiding the Quakers to a 7-16 record this season.

“I just wasn’t going to be able to commit the necessary time any more,” Stewart said. “To do this job well requires a lot of hours, and I am going to have some other commitments next winter.”

Previously, Stewart went 110-34 in six seasons at Salem from 2000-2006, including a 2004 state semifinal berth. He also went 113-27 in six seasons (1986-92) at Lisbon, guiding the Blue Devils to a state semifinal berth in 1989. Stewart’s current career record sits at 230-77.

“I really enjoyed the time I had in coaching, and I enjoyed this last season,” Stewart said. “My walking away had nothing to do our team, it was just time for me to move on.”

Stewart, who is semi-retired, began to feel the urge last year to return to the sidelines after seven years away. He was re-hired by the school last June with both sides understanding that it would be a year-to-year commitment.

“I missed the feeling of being on the sidelines,” Stewart said. “And I really missed the interaction with the kids that goes on during a season. When I came back, I had no time frame for how long I was going to stay, I just knew I missed coaching.”

Stewart viewed this past season as step one in a project to revive a Salem program that had fallen on hard times.

“When I showed up last summer I thought that work ethic and a winning mentality were two things needed improvement,” Stewart said. “I really feel that we began making progress as the year went on. There is still a lot of work to do, but I think it was a start.”

Stewart says his chances of being a head coach again are virtually none, and hopes whoever takes his place has the necessary time and energy to turn the program around.

“The biggest thing is that I hope the board moves quickly so whoever the replacement is will be in place by this summer,” Stewart said. “We missed a lot of the summer last year and that is a key time for the girls to play and develop. Hopefully whoever comes in loves the game as much as I do and is committed to putting in the hours.”