Homestead High School has parted ways with four-year boys basketball coach Kevin McKenna.
According to new Athletic Director Erich Hinterstocker, a teaching position has opened at Homestead, and the administration wants to tie the position to the coaching job.
"I think that with any coaching position, we're looking for someone who can move the program forward," he said. "It's a big job, involving working with the youth programs and other organizations. It's a big umbrella, and we're looking for someone who can support the kids in all ways, in the classroom, socially and emotionally and on the court.
"This decision was not made on Kevin's coaching ability. It was made more on our desire to achieve our objective of having someone in both an educational and extracurricular leadership role."
In a letter to team members and those involved with the program, McKenna, who does not teach in the district, acknowledged as much.
"Over the past four years, there have been attempts to tie the head basketball coaching job to a teaching position at Homestead," he said. "During this time, Homestead and I have not been able to find a match.
"A teaching position at Homestead has recently opened. Administration has decided that it is their best interest to open the boys head basketball coaching position along with the latest teaching position in hopes of hiring a single candidate for both positions."
In his four years at Homestead, McKenna finished with a 55-40 record, including an injury-riddled 7-16 campaign this past season. The Highlanders won a WIAA regional title in 2014-15 and went 18-5 in 2013-14.
Hinterstocker said the administration was grateful for the work McKenna did as he came on just before the 2012-13 season after Marquis Hines left the program after two seasons. McKenna had coached at Grafton four years before taking the Homestead job.
"He came in during touch circumstances and did some great things," said Hinterstocker. "We knew his goal from day one was to have both a coaching and a teaching role at Homestead. We just weren't able to find one that fit."
Hinterstocker added that the district, like many others, wants to maximize the number of in-building coaches, hence this particular change.
"With all the pressures facing students these days, we'd like to provide them with th extra emotional and academic support a teacher (and coach) within the school can provide," he said.
The coaching and teaching positions are already posted, and Hinterstocker said the district is anxious to get them filled before October as the first basketball practices start in November.
"Hopefully sooner," he added.
McKenna said he will miss Homestead.
"I regret to inform you that my time as head coach at Homestead has come to a close," he said in the letter. "I want to let everyone know that I appreciate all the people who have cared for this program and have supported me and helped me along the way. I will miss the staff and families at Homestead and wish them nothing but the best in the future."