Collin Abels, who guided Northmont to a rare outright boys high school basketball conference title in the 2016-17 season, resigned from his coaching position. He led the Thunderbolts the last five seasons.
A three-sport standout and Northmont graduate, he cited a familiar reason of wanting to spend more time with a growing family for stepping down. He has coached different levels of football, basketball and baseball in 20 years as a teacher, most of that at Northmont after also excelling in baseball at the University of Dayton.
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“I poured my heart and soul into this for 20 years,” he said. “My (three) kids are at that age, they’re already growing up quick, but that growing-up process is going to go even quicker. I don’t want to miss that.”
Abels was promoted to Northmont’s head coach after Jim Brown, formerly Wright State University’s men’s basketball coach and longtime Raiders assistant, resigned amid controversy. Northmont had two straight losing seasons under Abels and struggled for wins in the then Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division.
»RELATED: All-Area girls basketball
That all changed for Northmont in 2016-17. The Thunderbolts were 20-5, won an outright GWOC National West Division title and played for a Division I district championship.
Northmont shared a Greater Miami Valley Conference boys basketball title in 2000, but hadn’t won an outright championship since 1975 as a Southwestern Buckeye League member.
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Northmont was 11-13 this past season and a combined 61-56 overall (19-33 divisional) under Abels.
He cited a taxing year-round commitment to coaching “other than the two months the (Ohio High School Athletic Association) makes you take off” as another key reason for his resignation.
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“The nature of the beast is, if you want to be competitive, the other 10 months you better be doing everything you can to give yourself the best chance to be successful as possible,” he said. “Every coach is different. Some coaches find a way to do it. My kids and wife were supportive of me to continue to do it, but I told them I don’t want to miss this. I want to be a part of this as much as possible.”
It’s at least the seventh area program that will have a new boys varsity boys basketball coach in place next season. Also having resigned among GWOC coaches was Tony Clemens at West Carrollton.
»RAMS BOYS: High-scoring game shut down by Irish
• Versailles senior Justin Ahrens scored 11 points and was named MVP in Ohio’s 99-90 defeat of Kentucky in Saturday’s Battle of the Border boys and girls all-star basketball games at Thomas More College. Also playing for Ohio were Wayne senior teammates Deshone Parker (13 points) and Darius Quisenberry (10).
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Ohio’s girls also won, 103-78. Springboro senior Jordan Diehl had seven points and Allison Mader of Tippecanoe four.