Heather Sugg will not be returning as Beamer’s head girls basketball coach.
Sugg, who recently completed her fourth year at the helm, said she was told this week by athletic director Jerry Peterson that administrators had “decided to move in a different direction.”
When contacted by The Times Thursday, Peterson reiterated the same reason for not renewing Sugg’s contract.
“Todd Beamer High School appreciates everything she has done for the girls basketball program,” he added.
Sugg, who was an assistant coach for two seasons before getting the head position, called the decision “devastating” and teared up when talking about losing the coaching job.
“It kills me,” she said. “It’s one of the things that keeps me going, keeps me focused.”
Sugg was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor in January of 2010. She handed the majority of the coaching duties over to an assistant, but still sat on the bench for the remainder of the season. She began radiation treatments to shrink the tumor in February.
When the 2010-11 season started, Sugg was back as head coach. I wrote this story about her about her journey in January of 2011. After winning just two games in 2009-10, and three the season before that, the Titans qualified for the playoffs and finished 13-10.
This season, they went 8-12, but with just two senior starters and 17 freshman in the program — which allowed Beamer to field three teams for the first time in Sugg’s tenure — she believes the future is bright.
Sugg said Peterson would give her no other explanation for the decision and that when she was given her evaluation to sign the same day, there were no areas of “needs improvement” listed.
“It takes time to build a program,” Sugg said. “I feel I didn’t get a chance to fix things that were wrong….If I wasn’t a good coach, just tell me. All I’m asking is why, that’s all I want to know. Then I can handle it. I can wrap my brain around it.
“I feel like I got slapped in the face and thrown under the bus.”
Sugg said she is feeling well and that her last MRI showed no growth in the tumor.