Aaron Hollar has known his days as boys basketball coach at West Liberty-Salem would have to end, but that didn’t make the decision any easier.
Because of mounting responsibilities as the school system’s elementary principal, Hollar is giving up coaching after 15 seasons. Hollar also has three daughters, and he wants to be involved with them as they begin to play organized sports.
“My family has always been my No. 1 priority, and I love my principal job,” Hollar said Friday. “Something had to give. I’m just no longer able to juggle everything. I certainly wish things could be different and I could continue to do everything.”
Hollar said a new state-mandated teacher evaluation process will require more time and paperwork. He said it would have been too difficult to balance that with getting to practices on time and with doing what is needed in the offseason to keep the program growing.
“It’s time to give someone else a chance who has the time to do all the things we should be doing in the offseason,” Hollar said.
Athletic Director Jake Vitt hopes Hollar’s resignation is the last one for a while. Vitt recently lost football coach Toby Smith after 18 seasons to Bellefontaine, but he expects his new football coach to be approved at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. Vitt would not disclose the name of the coach. Smith is also about to start his final year as baseball coach, so that will be the next position for Vitt to fill.
Vitt recently hired Rebecca Macy as volleyball coach. Macy was an assistant at Shawnee this past season. And Lanay Cordell stepped down after 10 seasons as softball coach, but Vitt was able to call on girls basketball coach Dennis McIntosh to take that team.
“I’m happy for Aaron, but I’m going to miss him because we are great friends, too,” Vitt said. “I agree with him that the time’s right. I’m really pumped and happy for him that he could go out with such a great year.”
Hollar’s final season was his best. The Tigers set a school record with 20 victories and won their second sectional title under Hollar. He also finishes with two league titles and a record of 183-146.
“Any coach who has done it for a while will probably tell you that it’s more fun to be at practice than a game,” Hollar said. “I’m really going to miss that part of working with the kids and forming the bonds with them.”