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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Steffy closes book on coaching career -- for now

Friday, June 24, 2011

South Putnam's Debbie Steffy has stepped down as head girls' golf and basketball coach. [Order this photo]
South Putnam's girls' basketball and golf programs will look much different next year. Long-time head coach and current Central Elementary principal Debbie Steffy decided to step down in her head coaching positions recently.

Steffy said her decision to walk away from her coaching roles was a tough one, but one that she hopes will benefit the students of Central Elementary in her administrative capacity.

"First of all, it was not an easy decision to make," Steffy said. "In life you have to look at situations and do what is best, not necessarily what you want. This spring, the state legislature made some historic changes to education in the state of Indiana. Charter schools and vouchers were among the hot topics, but the ones that really hit close to home are the ones dealing with the accountability for the education of children.

"These are changes that will require more of my time as an administrator. Because I am committed to Central Elementary school continuing to be a top-notch school with great teachers, I will do everything I can to help the school continue to grow and reach the high goals set by our staff at Central Elementary and the Dept. of Education," she said.

Steffy began the girls' golf program at South Putnam 13 years ago and gave a lot of credit for the program's successful growth to those around her.

"We started from scratch and with hard work from of a lot of people, especially the girls, built the program into a very respectable and competitive program. I am confident that Coach McClure will carry on the tradition," Steffy said.

As a basketball coach, Steffy served four years as an assistant under Bill Merkel before stepping into the role of head coach. In her time as head coach she amassed a record of 134-145 and said her thoughts never centered on wins and losses.

"There have been a lot of good times through those years," Steffy said. "My goal was always to put a team out on the floor each night that South Putnam and the community could be proud of. A team that works hard and does things the right way. We may not have always won, but a team that could work together to accomplish goals. I feel that for the most part, we got that accomplished."

Having been coaching for more than a decade, Steffy said there are lots of things she'll miss. She said she'll miss watching athletes grow as people and she remains in contact with girls that played years ago. She'll also miss the time spent getting ready for each game as the season progressed.

"The preparation and competition. It is just like a test. You prepare and then you get a grade. In sports, you practice and prepare and then you get to play," Steffy commented.

But as with anything when a person spends a significant portion of their life doing something where people are involved, Steffy will miss the bonds that are formed.

"I will miss the relationships with people," Steffy said. "I have some close friends that I have met through coaching. Not just other coaches and those that I have worked with, but families that I have been around for several years. You spend a lot of time with the athletes you coach but I don't think that people realize how much you get to know the families of the athletes as well.

"I have done this long enough at South Putnam that I have had two or even three sisters go through the programs. Some of those families have spanned a total of 8-12 years. I would like to thank all the families that I have been able to get to know and work with during these 17 years," she said.

As with any true competitor, Steffy didn't rule out a return to the coaching ranks in the future. When asked about a possible return, she said if the right situation presented itself, she could see herself return to coaching.