It is simply the right time to move on.
In two seasons as Copperas Cove’s girl’s basketball coach, Teresa Durham helped turn around a historically strong program, propelling the Lady Bulldawgs back into the playoffs to end a two-year absence.
On Friday, however, Durham decided that would be her last season with the team, announcing she will be resigning from the position at the end of the school year.
“My goal has always been to build a championship program from the ground up,” said Durham, who won the 2006 Class 3A title with China Spring. “You can do that when you get to be in control and you get to make decisions, both good and bad. Sometimes, when those rules change or expectations from different parts of the community changes, then it becomes not a good fit.
“When your goals don’t quite mesh then it is time to pick where you can go do that, and now is probably the time for that change, so I’m looking for a job.”
Copperas Cove athletic director Jack Welch was unavailable for comment, but spoke highly of Durham in a press release issued through the school’s sports information director, Joe Lombardi.
“We appreciate the great things coach Durham has done for the program in getting Lady Dawg basketball back to the state playoffs, where everyone expects Lady Dawg basketball to be,” Welch said. “She came here to restore Lady Dawg basketball and she has accomplished her goal. … She will be hard to replace.”
No timetable is currently in place for finding a replacement, but “actions will be taken as quickly as possible,” according to the statement.
With District 8-5A offensive player of the year Shawnte’ Goff spearheading Copperas Cove’s attack, the Lady Bulldawgs (24-10, 11-3) finished second in district this season after going 19-15 overall and failing to make the playoffs in Durham’s first season.
Cedar Hill survived a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat the Lady Bulldawgs 69-68, ending the program’s postseason return in the opening round and leaving Durham feeling slightly unsatisfied.
“Once you win a state championship and play all the way through March, everything else falls a little bit short,” Durham said. “I was very proud of the steps that we made. We took some huge strides forward. In the preseason, I don’t think anybody was scared or thought we might have a legitimate chance to make a run. The kids proved a lot to themselves and to others this year.”
The short tenure continues a trend for the program. Durham is the third coach to last less than three seasons since Kevin Baker departed for an assistant position at West Texas A&M in 2007 after leading the Lady Bulldawgs to three postseason appearances in five seasons.
Richard Herbst guided Copperas Cove to three consecutive playoffs, including a run to the regional quarterfinals in 2008-09, before Preston Flaniken inherited the team in 2010. Flaniken missed the playoffs in his lone season at the helm, opening the door for Durham to step in.
Despite her short stint, perhaps the most difficult part of the decision for Durham was breaking the news to her players, including 10 current sophomores and juniors.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of dismay,” she said. “Hopefully, they understand and don’t take it personal because this didn’t have anything to do with them.”