MEDINA — In four short seasons, Chris Hassinger changed the mindset of Medina girls basketball.
Now, the 41-year-old is ready for his next challenge, announcing Monday he is stepping down as Bees coach.
“I just felt like I need to recharge,” Hassinger said. “I have no plans right now and I’m keeping all of my options open. For me, it’s a good time to take a break. It’s a gut feeling. I just had a feeling after I thought about it that this is the right time.”
After an 11-10 record in his first season, Hassinger’s teams won at least 16 games in his final three seasons and captured the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division crown each year. The Bees hadn’t won a league banner since 1995-96.
Hassinger posted a 63-26 record — 31-9 in NOC River play — that included a 16-7 campaign in 2012-13 led by All-Gazette selections Sarah Kinch and Angela Tesny.
The Bees’ best season came in 2011-12 when they went 18-5 and advanced to the Parma Division I District championship. It was the first time the program had reached a district title game since 1994.
“I’m really proud,” Hassinger said. “Looking back now, there were three things that were important — the commitment of our parents, the commitments of our kids and we put together a good coaching staff with people like Chris Miller, Mitch Charvat, Barb Davis and Karen Kase. Those three things on the same page, that was what turned it around.”
Over the last 19 years, the Wadsworth resident has coached at various levels in boys and girls programs and hasn’t ruled out a return to the sideline.
“I feel like a person that has just retired. I have no plans,” Hassinger said. “I’m coaching my son’s AAU team right now and having fun.
“The crazy person I am, I already organized most of the summer schedule and next year’s schedule (for the Medina varsity). Karen Kase will take over the program and oversee things until they open the job up, but for me I have no plans right now.”
The Medina job should grab the attention of a host of candidates due to the program’s recent success and a feeder system built from the ground up by Hassinger.
The junior varsity and freshman teams combined to go 33-6 this season, while seventh-grade teams at A.I. Root and Claggett middle schools met in the NOC title game.
Combine that with a varsity squad that returns the likes of Casey Midlik, Holly Rhodes and Madi Tata and Medina is far from a rebuilding job.
“The opportunity to be good is there, if they all commit,” Hassinger said. “I appreciated the support from Medina. They’ve been so good to me while I’ve been coaching the last 19 years.”
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