Matt Hagaman resigned Friday as the head boys varsity basketball coach at Wilkes Central High School, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
“After a lot of thought and prayer, and a lot of conversations with my wife, and some time away from the season, I’ve reached a point in my life where my time and energy need to go in another direction,” said Hagaman in an interview Friday.
Hagaman said the timing was right to step down from the coaching position and spend more time with his wife, Susan, and their three children, who are ages 9, 8 and 2.
“I want that time and energy to go towards my family and be able to spend more time with my kids as they grow up, before they get grown and gone. The best move right now is for me to step down. This was a hard decision, but it was the right decision.”
Hagaman, 41, has helmed the program for 15 years and compiled a record of 229-145, which includes three outright or shared Mountain Valley Athletic Conference regular season championships and five tournament titles.
“I’m really proud of our program and the success we’ve had on and off the court,” he said. “That’s a credit to all the people who have put in the time to make it that way. I’ll cherish all the time spent here coaching and these young men truly hold a special place in my heart. I’m proud to be an Eagle.”
This past winter the Eagles went 6-8 under Hagaman, only the fourth losing mark in the past 15 years for the program.
Hagaman said he can’t thank everyone by name, but “I really want to thank my family and my wife Susan, because without their support I couldn’t have done this. I’m excited about new opportunities moving forward.”
Hagaman’s successor as head coach has not been named, but the search for that person will begin immediately, according to Chuck Cannon, the school’s athletic director.
“We really appreciate all that Matt has done for Wilkes Central,” said Cannon on Friday. “Everything he did was first class on and off the court. He and his program represented Wilkes Central at a high standard.”
Hagaman added, “Whoever is selected to be head of the program I think is a really lucky guy, because this is a great place and a wonderful place to work and coach.”
Hagaman said he will continue to teach business education at the high school. “I’m excited about that because I love teaching here and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue doing that.”
Elaborating on the resignation, Hagaman said, “I don’t feel like I can give the program the time and energy moving forward that it deserves from their head coach. I’ve been very blessed and I’m so grateful and thankful.
“Life is great, but life is busy, and so I’ve had to make this personal decision. I appreciate the support of (Principal) Dr. (Dion) Stocks and Coach Cannon in supporting me with the decision.”
Hagaman, who starred on the Eagle basketball team and graduated in 1998, said, “I can’t put into words how much it’s meant to spend half my life in The Nest. I’d like to say how thankful I am to Mr. Kaufman and Mark Horton for taking a chance on a 26-year-old a long time ago. All the administrators I’ve coached for have been so supportive. Everything I’ve done has been a team effort in every way.”
Hagaman said he has worked with many great people who have poured their hearts and souls and time into the Eagle basketball program. “It’s been the players, coaches, parents, administrators, students and our community who have supported this program like no other. This is just a special place, and it’s a team effort. I’m so grateful to have been part of that for 15 years.”