Garriott steps aside as STM girls' basketball coach

Garriott steps aside as STM girls' basketball coach

CHAMPAIGN — St. Thomas More hired four new prep sports coaches between May 21 and June 17. Turns out the Sabers’ work isn’t finished just yet.

Girls’ basketball coach Tom Garriott stepped aside Thursday after two seasons helming the program, simultaneously accepting the same position at Pontiac.

“It was a hard decision,” Garriott said. “There are great kids at STM. The parents are great. The Hinkleys (Josh and Krista) are two of the best athletic directors I’ve ever worked with.”

Garriott's Sabers most recently put together a 17-10 campaign that ended with a Class 2A regional final loss to Illini Prairie Conference rival St. Joseph-Ogden. It marked a vast improvement from the 2016-17 season, which featured a 12-16 ledger for STM.

Pontiac, which also is in the Illini Prairie Conference, posted a 12-13 record under Dan Gschwendtner during the latest season. The Sabers defeated the Indians 59-38 in a Jan. 6 league affair.

“I wasn’t planning on leaving,” Garriott said. “The opportunity presented itself and it seemed like a good fit, so I accepted it.”

Garriott doesn’t feel he’s departing from a bad situation at STM, as the Sabers are expected to return three starters and multiple other players with varsity experience. Garriott also feels some of the incoming freshmen from St. Matthew Catholic School in Champaign will make an immediate impact on the club.

Regardless of how that plays out, or how the 2018-19 matchup between STM and Pontiac goes down, Garriott enjoyed his stint with the Sabers.

“They bought into the system and played hard,” Garriott said. “I never had any trouble with the kids off the court or anything. They all had great attitudes.”