Brainerd High School activities director Todd Selk announced the resignation of Matt Urbanek as the Warriors' head boys' basketball coach Monday.
"We received a letter of resignation today from Matt, resigning, effective immediately, his position as head boys' basketball coach," Selk wrote in an e-mail.
"We support Matt in his decision to step down from the boys' basketball program," Selk added. "We thank him for his eight years of service to the student-athletes and families that have been a part of this program and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Matt Urbanek, shown coaching in a game in February, resigned Monday as the Brainerd High School boys' basketball coach. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
The Warriors finished 7-19 last season following a first-round Section 8-4A tournament loss to St. Cloud Tech. Urbanek was the Warriors' head coach for eight seasons, compiling an 82-124 (.398) record. He came to Brainerd from International Falls, where the Broncos were 52-25 in his three seasons and made the state tournament for the first time.
In an e-mail, Urbanek cited family health issues as the main reason he was resigning.
"My family lives in southern Minnesota, and this has been a difficult year, health-wise, for them," he said. "I've had too much on my plate, and I would like to be more free to help where I am needed, so I have decided to resign as basketball coach.
"I've been traveling from Brainerd to Winona every weekend, even during the season. It kind of puts things into perspective, regarding what is important in life. At some point, whether next year or down the road, I would possibly like to end up closer in proximity to them. This also will take some stress off my shoulders."
Urbanek, a ninth-grade social studies teacher at BHS South Campus, acknowledged "there have certainly been some ups and downs in my eight years as head coach."
"As a coach you always want to win more games and you are never satisfied," he said. "That is certainly the case with me. It has been a privilege for me to get to know the kids in our program, and I will be cheering for the success of the Warriors in the future.
"I hope and believe that we have done some good things for kids here, and the program has a good future. Down the road it is not the on-court details, but the relationships that will be remembered. There are many relationships with kids and coaches that I value greatly and hope to maintain for years to come."
Urbanek said he and coaching friends concur that their profession has changed.
"Many of the changes are not for the better," he said. "The biggest challenge would have to be parent criticism and negativity. This is way too common in all sports, and it starts already in the elementary school levels.
"This seems more common in Brainerd than in other places, and probably more common with sports like basketball and hockey that are very subjective in nature. The negativity sends the wrong message to kids and puts kids in the middle. If I had a magic wand that is one thing I would change.
"Other than that, we have a lot of great things to offer in Brainerd athletics. We've had a lot of great people involved in our program who have selflessly helped us out and supported us a great deal. Extracurricular activities have so many positive benefits, and I will do whatever I can to help with the transition to a new coach.
"I want to thank Scott Stanfield, Shane Jordan, Keith Peterson and Jeff Ramey for their years of service to kids and to the basketball program. They truly care about kids and they have been great to work with."
Selk said the opening will be posted shortly and the new head coach will have input on selecting their assistants.
"As department procedure, when selecting new leadership for a varsity program, once the new head coach is hired, that person and myself will work on putting the rest of the staff together," he said.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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