“I don’t want to miss that time with my kids.”
Steve Frank clearly says it’s not a retirement. He’s not even leaving the Strafford School District. He’s just taking time away from coaching.
“Twenty-eight years I’ve sacrificed for other families,” Frank said, “now I have a chance to be there for my family.”
Tuesday afternoon his job was posted: Strafford High School is hiring a varsity girls head basketball coach.
The Lady Indians will enter the 2019-20 season as the reigning, four-time state champions. Strafford will also carry a 115-game win streak into the new year.
“I had to think of stepping aside with so much surrounding this team,” Frank said, “what will be good for everybody?”
For weeks, Frank thought he’d give coaching one more year.
By then he’d be ready to travel to watch his twin daughters play basketball. Hayley will be at Mizzou next year with Kayley attending Frank’s alma mater – College of the Ozarks.
But just as he was comfortable with that thought, he was quickly reminded about the time he missed last spring.
Last year, Frank took over Strafford’s vacant, boys golf head coaching position. He thought with golf invitationals in the morning he could still make his daughters’ softball games in the evenings.
He was wrong. While missing four softball games might not sound like a lot, he says it killed him to be away.
“I’m hoping to be out there before it’s too late,” Frank said about watching his daughters play.
His final decision came a few days before his job was posted. He was in Kansas City with Hayley and his wife, Mona. They were watching Hayley play in the Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star basketball game.
In the waining moments of the game, with her team trailing, he watched as Hayley steals the ball and glides down the court to hit the game-winning basket shortly before the buzzer.
While at lunch on that trip, Frank knew that was where he belongs – with his family.
“In four years (after his daughters graduate college) maybe I’ll re-engage,” Frank said about getting back onto the bench.
“If there’s an opening, and there’s interest, we’ll see.”
Frank leaves the game with a career head coaching record of 533-117.
He is a member of the College of the Ozark Hall of Fame and the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.