Michelle Russell was let go Tuesday after five years as Dundee-Crowns head girls basketball coach.
CHRISTOPHER HANKINS | Staff Photographer
Much to her surprise and disappointment, Michelle Russell was let go Tuesday as Dundee-Crowns head girls basketball coach.
Russell was informed in a meeting with Athletic Director Dick Storm and principal Lynn McCarthy that she would not be retained as coach. Russell teaches at Westfield Community School in District 300.
Im disappointed in their decision, Russell said. I dont know what more I could have done. Ive given all I had. I love Dundee-Crown and I always will. I dont understand, but its their decision.
A 1991 Dundee-Crown graduate, Russell is the programs all-time leading scorer and was inducted into the D-C Hall of Fame with the inaugural class in 2002. She once scored 45 points in a game at D-C before going on to play at Valparaiso and Purdue-Calumet.
After eight years as an underclass coach for the Chargers, she took over the varsity program prior to the 2008-09 season when Joe Komaromy retired after 26 years at the helm.
Russell went 32-103 in her five seasons, including 4-24 this season. D-C suffered heavy graduation losses from the 15-11 team of 2011-12, but Russell was excited for the future.
We had a down year this year but I have never been so excited for the future, said Russell, the daughter of longtime D-C multisport coach Tom Russell. Weve got some really nice players coming up from the middle schools and the lower levels. Ive been watching those kids develop. Thats why I dont understand this.
Russells departure from the program came with plenty of emotion as well.
I grew up there, she said of Dundee-Crown. My dad coached there and I played there. It was my dream to coach there. Ive been watching everyone come up from fifth graders to seniors. Ill always love Dundee-Crown. I dont know what else I could have done. I hope it works out for them but Im disappointed and Im upset.
Russells firing means two D300 schools are in the market for new girls basketball coaches. Ed Haugens recently stepped down after three years at Hampshire. Joe Benoit just completed his first season at Jacobs. The three D300 girls basketball teams went a combined 18-64 this season.
Storm thanked Russell for her years with the program.
Were going in a new direction, he said. I appreciate (Russells) efforts. She tried hard in her five years and shes been very loyal to our school.
McCarthy did not return a message left by the Daily Herald Tuesday afternoon.