LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Aquinas will have two big shoes to fill next season.
Boys basketball coach Rick Schneider and girls basketball coach Matt Watson are both stepping down.
"I was surprised, but I'm happy for them because they've served the school in an awesome way," said Aquinas Athletics Director Ted Knutson. "It's a tough day for Aquinas though. They've been great for us."
In 10 seasons, Schneider led the Blugolds to a 188-65 record, three WIAA state titles ('13, '11, '08), two state runner-up finishes, and seven regional championships. In 2010-11, he set the school record for most wins in a season (27). His 2006-07 squad set the school record for most points scored in a season.
He said the main reason for stepping down is to devote more time to his family and business.
"I've been doing this for 18 years, being an assistant and then a head coach, helping other people's kids," Schneider said. "Now it's time for me to be there for my own family and help guide my own children and support them with whatever their dreams may be."
Schneider said he broke the news to his team Thursday night.
"A lot of sadness. A lot of tears, a lot of disappointment," he said. "That was very difficult for me, to sit down with them and tell them what's going on."
Watson, also an Aquinas graduate, coached the Blugolds girls for seven seasons. He led the program to a 110-58 record and won four WIAA regional championships. He was an assistant boys coach for two years prior to taking over the girls.
Watson said he shares the same reason for stepping down: to spend more time with his family.
"Coaching is a passion of mine and has been forever. For me, I've had three main components to my life. I have my family, my career, and coaching. I love all of them, but they're not all equal in priority.
Both coaches stressed that family and their full-time jobs are the only reasons they decided now is the time to resign.
"We have careers and we have to make sure that we're giving the due diligence to our careers and to our families and we gotta be there for our children and our wives. There is nothing more than that. It's 100 percent, that's what these decisions are about," Schneider said.
"You're always going to have rumors but there's no conspiracy here. It's not any issues. We're both Aquinas guys. I graduated from here. Rick graduated from here. We're still going to be really supportive Aquinas people. It just simply is a point in time right now that I just can't fit it in. That's hard for me because it's a passion of mine and I enjoy it a lot," Watson said.
Knutson said the school will form search and interview committees. The application for both positions will be posted from now until April 14th. He hopes to have replacements in place by early May.