Luke steps down from bas­ket­ball job

Rock­mart coach will con­tinue to lead Lady Jack­ets’ soft­ball pro­gram.

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Kevin Myrick SJ Ed­i­tor

Rock­mart coach Steve Luke has given up one of his jobs for the Jack­ets ath­let­ics pro­grams.

Luke handed in his res­ig­na­tion as Rock­mart’s boys bas­ket­ball coach in the past days ac­cord­ing to Ath­letic Di­rec­tor and As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Barry Wil­liams. Luke will how­ever re­main as the Lady Yel­low Jack­ets soft­ball coach, Wil­liams said.

“He was le­git­i­mately do­ing a great job with the team,” Wil­liams said.

Luke con­firmed t hat he’d con­tinue coach­ing the de­fend­ing state cham­pion Lady Jacket soft­ball pro­gram in 2018. The Lady Jack­ets went 35- 2 in 2017, un­de­feated in Re­gion 7-AA play and only lost to 3A Cal­houn and 4A North­west Whit­field dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. That came off the heels of the Lady Jack­ets Fi­nal Four ap­pear­ance in 2016.

“There are other ar­eas that I need to fo­cus on, and I was thank­ful for the chal­lenge to get to coach high school bas­ket­ball,” he said.

That chal­lenge was one he over­came with fly­ing col­ors in his sea­son as the pro­gram’s head, and the third ma­jor sport he’s coached at Rock­mart High School in his 17 year ca­reer in the Polk School District.

Rock­mart’s boys bas­ket­ball team fin­ished the year with a 17-12 record, mak­ing it to the cham­pi­onship game in Re­gion 7-AA, and a first round play­off win at home. The Jack­ets were knocked out of the State Tour­na­ment in the sec­ond round against Spencer on the road.

Luke added that time spent coach­ing af­ter a long sea­son of soft­ball was the lead­ing fac­tor in his de­ci­sion.

He added that the time a bas­ket­ball coach puts in isn’t just on the side­line dur­ing games, but devoted to prac­tices, travel, fundrais­ing and much more.

“I don’t think peo­ple re­al­ize how dif­fi­cult it is to be a high school bas­ket­ball coach is when it comes to time,” Luke said.

Luke added that with the hard work the team put in this past sea­son to get to the level they did, they are slated for bet­ter things to come de­spite his de­ci­sion to step down.

“They’ re go­ing to be suc­cess­ful no mat­ter what,” he said.

Wil­liams said the search for a new head coach is al­ready un­der­way, and he hopes to be able to present a can­di­date for the Polk County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to ap­prove dur­ing their May meet­ing.

File, Kevin Myrick / SJ

Rock­mart coach Steve Luke gave up his po­si­tion as the boy’s bas­ket­ball coach, but will re­main over the soft­ball team.

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