Melissa Connor resigns as the Heritage girls basketball coach to focus on family

Another area basketball head coaching spot is vacant as Melissa Connor has resigned from her spot as Heritage’s head girls basketball coach after five seasons.

Outside the Huddle confirmed the decision with Connor on Wednesday afternoon, February 26, shortly after she informed her team of the decision. She also shared with Outside the Huddle the open letter that she wrote to the Heritage community. In it, Connor stated:

I love the game of basketball. I love the smell of the gym floor, and the way I feel at home when I step onto it. This is why, it is with great sadness, that I will be resigning from the girls’ basketball head coaching position at Heritage High School. I have pushed every athlete that has stepped onto the Patriot hardwood to give 100% effort, and because of this, I cannot, in good conscious, continue to coach.  You see, my kids are growing and getting involved in their own activities and events, and I want to be there for them. I am a firm believer that one can multi-task well, but cannot truly give 100% of themselves to multiple different areas; something always gives. For the past few years, I have missed time with my children, their activities, their events, and that is a hard thing for a mom to do. The coaching staff would always correlate the game to life lessons, and this is a life lesson that is difficult to swallow.  Sometimes, we have to make choices based on what is best. It may not be what we want, what we wish, or what we had hoped for, but we make the choice and make the best of it.”

Former Heritage coach Melissa Connor talks with Abby Sheehan (22) and Bree Dossen during the 2018-2019 season at an ACAC Tournament game.

Connor went 51-62 in her five seasons leading Heritage, including going 13-10 this past season. During the 2019-2020 season, Connor and Heritage registered quality wins over eventual Sectional champion teams Adams Central and Blackhawk Christian. This season marked back to back winning campaigns for Connor after leading Heritage to a 16-6 record in 2018-2019, her best of the five seasons.

“This was a really hard decision for me because I love the girls, I love Heritage,” Connor told Outside the Huddle on Wednesday. “I only get this time with my kids once and I don’t want to miss it.”

Connor failed to win any titles during her time with Heritage, advancing to the ACAC Tournament finals in 2019 with her most successful team. Most of her tenure fell under Jay County’s stranglehold over the conference. Connor was one of just four Heritage girls basketball coaches in the past 20 years.

The Patriots will graduate top two scorers Bree Dossen and Abby Sheehan along with three other seniors. There were six freshmen and sophomores on the 2019-2020 roster that are slated to return.

“Coming in as a first time head coach, I don’t know if I had any expectations. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about running a program,” Connor said. “My expectation to get the program the way I wanted it was just back to fundamentals and obviously, it took us a couple of years to get there but I think that overall we improved.”

Connor says that she has no thoughts on what her future in coaching will be, taking a “we will see” approach.

“I love the game of basketball. I loved being a part of a program. We will see where life makes us,” she added.

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