By Justine Espersen
The end of the Lady Tigers’ basketball season also marks the end of Coach Doug Porter’s coaching career.
After 27 years of coaching, with 14 of those years at Olivet, Porter decided it was time to take a “mental break for right now.”
“I’m a little worn down with the constant grind of it,” Porter said. “Going into the next season has a lot of changes, too. It just felt like the timing was right.”
Porter announced his decision to the team during an end-of-the season meeting last Monday.
“I was shocked,” junior Rachel Kearney said. “None of us saw this coming at all.”
However, Porter told the team he had been considering leaving the program for months. After discussing the matter with Athletic Director Gary Newsome, Newsome asked him to postpone making a final decision until after the season.
Porter went to Newsome the day after the team returned from the national tournament to tell him that he wanted to stick with his decision.
Despite Porter’s departure, players hope his innovative technique of fast-paced basketball, coined “Tigerball,” will stay behind.
“We’re a run-and-gun team,” senior Holly Schacht said. “We’re only in for 40 seconds at a time. It’s a completely different style.”
Porter was able to prove to his colleagues and basketball players that this system worked. It helped his teams – who consistently averaged more than 100 points a game – break a lot of records in his time at Olivet.
This year, the Lady Tigers broke the NAIA records (most of which were already held by Olivet) in the following categories: most 3-point field goals made in the season (521), in a game on average (16.3), in one game (34 vs. Judson), and attempts (77 vs. Trinity International), and most field goals averaged in a game (97) and made in the season (3,104).
As for the upcoming season, both the team and Porter hope to have current assistant coach Lauren Stamatis take the coaching position.
“Lauren would be a great fit. She’s well-respected on campus and by the team,” Porter said. “She’s committed to continuing this style of play, too. Any other coach brought in [would have] a different philosophy and won’t continue on with Tigerball.”
In part with his retirement, Porter plans for new business opportunities and is thinking of moving, as his family is a big part of his decision.
“My wife and I are thinking of moving to Naperville, which will allow us to take care of my wife’s mother,” Porter said.