Stu Vetter, one of the winningest high school basketball coaches of all time, will step down at Montrose Christian at the end of the summer. The move comes after 14 seasons as coach of the Mustangs, where he guided current NBA players Kevin Durant, Greivis Vasquez and Linas Kleiza, and established the Rockville school as one of the preeminent high school teams in the nation.
Vetter said Wednesday that he considered resigning throughout last season but didn’t come to the decision until after the 2012-13 campaign following talks with his family and several trips to see a handful of his former players. Vetter said his resignation does not mean he is retiring from coaching.
“It’s the right time to step down,” said Vetter, 61, in a telephone interview. “At this stage of my life, I want to spend more time with my family and pursue other coaching, camp and business opportunities. It’s been a great 14 years and we’ve established ourselves as one of the best programs in the country, which is something I take pride in.”
Vetter said he still plans to hold his annual basketball camp at Montrose Christian this summer.
In a news release, Montrose Christian Athletic Director William Vernon said that the “Montrose community wishes Coach Vetter the very best in his future endeavors.”
Montrose Christian sophomore guard Justin Robinson said he was shocked when he heard the news, saying that if Vetter, who has extended family in the area, takes a coaching job somewhere else within the next two years, he will follow him.
“For the two years I have been at Montrose, he has taught me a lot,” Robinson said via text message. “As a coach, he’s taught me to not only pay attention to the big things in life but also the small things. He’s made me grow as a player on and off the court. I was blessed to call him my coach.”
Durant also weighed in on Vetter’s decision by Twitter, writing that it is “tough to see my high school coach, Stu Vetter, resign. Great teacher of the game, a no nonsense guy and a great motivator! Great career SV!”
Since his coaching career began in 1975 at Flint Hill Prep, Vetter has amassed 878 victories and three national titles (USA Today/ESPN Rise) in leading Flint Hill Prep, St. John’s Prospect Hall, Harker Prep and Montrose Christian. He’s also produced more than 150 Division I college players and was inducted into the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. Vetter was named Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year in 1987 after leading future NBA player and All-Met Player of the Year Dennis Scott and Flint Hill Prep to a 23-0 record and the first of his two USA Today national championships.
A number of Vetter’s players have entered the coaching ranks, including George Washington assistant coach Kevin Sutton, who played under Vetter at Flint Hill Prep before joining him on the sidelines as an assistant coach.
“He’s a hall of fame coach whose success at multiple schools speaks volumes to his ability to build programs and build the character of young men,” Sutton said. “To be honest with you, I’m really happy for him. He’s been doing it for a number of years and earned a great deal of success, so I’m happy to see him make this decision and do it on his own terms.”
In his final season at Montrose Christian, Vetter led the Mustangs to a 19-5 record, finishing second in the final Post rankings and running his win total at the school to 321.
“I don’t think you ever close the door,” Vetter said. “I may not coach at the high school level again, but I will always listen to any opportunities that may present themselves. Any coach would want to do that. What I’m looking forward to is traveling around and visiting with former players and coaches.”
Vernon said in the school’s news release that the athletic department is currently accepting applications to fill the vacancy left by Vetter’s departure. A few weeks prior to Vetter’s decision, Montrose Christian assistant coaches Dan Prete and Don Shopland accepted positions at St. James, with Prete named head basketball coach and Shopland now an assistant at the Hagerstown school.
●FALCONS’ COACH RESIGNS: Blair Mills recently resigned from his head basketball coaching position at Good Counsel after four seasons. Mills compiled a 49-69 record, with his best campaign coming in 2009-10, when he led the Falcons to a 17-12 record and third-place finish in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
In a phone interview, Mills cited a desire to focus on his family, which is expecting its first child, as his reason for stepping down.
“It’s a family-first decision,” said Mills, who will continue teaching at the school. “I love Good Counsel, I love coaching and [interim principal Patrick] Bates has been extremely supportive. But when you weigh the two situations of coaching in the WCAC and family life, family wins out.”
●OLIVER’S NEXT STOP: Bishop McNamara named Frank Oliver its girls’ basketball coach. The former H.D. Woodson coach went 167-51 at the Northeast school and won seven consecutive DCIAA championships and three City Titles in a five-year span. Oliver stepped down last spring and did not coach during the 2012-13 season. Now he’ll try his hand in the in the ultra-competitive WCAC.