Jeff Waltz resigned as head coach of the Saline varsity girls’ basketball team Wednesday.
In a letter to the Saline Area Schools district offices, Waltz said his decision to resign was emotional and difficult, but that he was ready to start a new chapter in his life. Waltz told The Saline Post he planned to work toward his master’s degree in educational leadership.
Waltz coached the varsity team for six years, compiling a record of 71-59. He was also coach of the junior varsity team in 2010-11, going 14-6. In 2012-13, Waltz’s Lady Hornets beat Bedford to win the Class A District Championship. That year, Waltz was a finalist for BCAM Regional Coach of the Year.
Waltz’s teams won at least 10 games in each of his six seasons.
Still, Waltz doesn’t measure his tenure in wins and losses.
“I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish. We won our championship. We had double-digit wins every year,” Waltz said before shifting the focus. “We had great kids. And that’s what I’m most proud of. Wins and losses were secondary. It was about developing the kids and to give them a positive atmosphere to compete, learn to be a teammate and bond as a team. That’s what it’s about.”
Except for his four years of study and baseball at Hillsdale College and Albion College, Waltz has been involved in Saline school athletics since his freshman year of high school. Waltz played varsity football, basketball and baseball in his sophomore, junior and senior years before graduating in 2004. When he was hired to teach at Saline Area Schools for the 2009-10 school year, Waltz was an assistant coach in baseball and football. In 2010-11, Waltz was head coach of the girls junior varsity basketball team. He’s been head coach of the varsity team since the 2011-12 season.
Being away from athletics won’t be easy, Waltz said. He expects he’ll return to athletics one day.
Because coaching a basketball program has become a June-through-March job, Waltz has been pushing off finishing his master’s degree in educational leadership. That’s one way Waltz will spend his new free time. He and his wife, Melissa, also have several projects they want to do.
“Ultimately, I want to explore other challenges and opportunities that arise,” Waltz said. “You’ll still see me around Saline. But I’m excited to try some new things and spend a little more time at home.”
Waltz is employed by the district as program specialist in Community Education.
Waltz said he was grateful to have coached so many great girls and been supported by positive parents, coaches, trainers, bus drivers, scorekeepers and scouts.
“I will forever be grateful for the wonderful opportunities that I have had coaching this team and leading this program. It has provided me with many unbelievable memories that I will cherish for a lifetime,” Waltz said.
During his tenure Waltz coached eight first-team All-SEC players: Britten Clark, Caitlin Ellis, Melissa Needham, Amanda Zylstra, Jess Feldkamp, Abbey Bowen and Sydney Jarvela. Girls earning Honorable Mention All-SEC were Amanda Price, Ellis, Zylstra, Jamie Rittenhouse, Alyssa Heren, Allison Luurtsema, Jarvela, Bowen, Glory Ford and Asia Lindsey.