Fort Myers High School principal Dave La Rosa accepted girls basketball coach Ron Riis’ resignation on Tuesday as the season heads toward the playoffs.
“Because of personal reasons, I felt like it was the best thing for Fort Myers High School and this team,” Riis told news-press.com today. “Truthfully, I had talked to Mr. La Rosa on Monday, and I made the decision.”
Riis said he did not want to elaborate on the personal reasons.
La Rosa wanted to stress that Riis did nothing wrong and that this was Riis’ decision to step down from the program.
“He came to me with some personal issues about a week ago,” La Rosa told news-press.com today. “There really are some time constraints that are affecting his life. I’m thankful for everything Mr. Riis has done for the Fort Myers High School girls basketball program over the years. He has done everything I have asked him to do. He’s a great school person, because he puts the school first.”
The district tournament begins the week of Jan. 26, and the state playoffs, should Fort Myers win or finish runner-up in the district, begin Feb. 5.
“I have nothing but the best hopes for them,” Riis said. “I think they will do well.”
Riis said resigning, especially just prior to the playoffs, was a difficult decision.
“I didn’t want to get in the way of the team,” Riis said.
Riis will continue teaching English and coaching girls tennis for the Green Wave. The girls basketball team had a 13-5 record under his guidance this season and went 26-5 last season and 22-8 in 2012-13.
Francesca Melione, a biology teacher, will finish the season as the varsity coach. She will be assisted by Jimmy Roberts.
La Rosa said he would look to name a new coach for next season sometime in March.
“He has not had a bad record,” La Rosa said of Riis on Tuesday. “There were just some other things in the program that we needed to make some improvements on.”
La Rosa also said he hoped changing coaches would have a positive impact on the team.
“We needed a shot in the arm going into the postseason is what it is,” La Rosa said. “That’s what it’s about, for those seniors who are on the team.
“He was coaching multiple sports in the school. Things just weren’t going the way we wanted them to go in girls basketball. I don’t want to pinpoint anything he did wrong. There were just some things we needed to clear up.”
La Rosa, who has been doubling as his school’s athletic director, also recently named Brooks Beisner as the school’s new baseball coach.
Beisner, who had been coaching at Port Charlotte High and played at Auburn University and at FGCU, graduated from Charlotte High and will teach a credit retrieval program.
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