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Saugus Coach Hallman Resigns

Posted: March 5, 2008 1:59 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
After 14 years as the face of the Saugus High boys basketball program, head coach Jeff Hallman has decided to nudge the Centurions toward a makeover.

The 49-year-old announced he is stepping down in a one-liner filled announcement Tuesday afternoon in Saugus High principal Bill Bolde's office. He spoke excitedly about a chance to spend more time with his wife and 13-year-old daughter and to eventually pursue other coaching positions after some needed time away.

He's not retiring.

Just mixing things up.

"I'm a basketball coach," said Hallman, who has coached a total of 21 years at Saugus. "It's what I do. It's the only thing I'm good at. I'm not done yet."

Until Hallman figures out where that next coaching job may be, he intends to stay on at Saugus as a teacher.

The 1977 Hart High graduate and former The Master's College player and graduate has spent his entire career at the school.

"As long as Mr. Bolde will let me have a job, I'm staying," he said. "The Hallman family needs to eat."

He said he would be active in helping the school with its scheduling for next season and in finding a replacement and he has recommended Derek Ballard - a Saugus assistant for the past three years - for the position.

Hallman told his players of his decision during a Monday meeting. He joked about their lack of tears when he spoke.

"They're boys. They're not going to show a lot of emotion," he said. "I told them in about two weeks they'd probably forget about me. It felt like they did after two minutes."

Not that he'll forget them.

His career having survived plenty of personal downs - the in-season deaths of a player and both of his parents as well as his own battle with cancer - Hallman spoke fondly of his memories over the past 14 years.

Among the most memorable games was his 200th victory, a game won by Mario Wright this past season on a midcourt shot at the buzzer to beat West Ranch.

He said as the closing seconds clicked off the clock in the team's second-round playoff loss against Bishop Montgomery, all of the faces surged through his mind.

"As a teacher you don't remember every kid's name but as a coach, I remember the name of every single kid who has ever laced up their shoes for me," he said.

The coach won 203 games in all with the Centurions, including a 22-6 mark this past year in which the team came one win shy of its first league title in 25 years.

Bolde said Hallman's impact went far beyond wins.

"He has had an important impact on student-athletes far beyond X's and O's and teaching someone how to make a free throw," said Bolde, whose son is among Hallman's former players. "He teaches character."

Hallman will continue doing that in the classroom.

For now, though, it's time for a basketball break.

He said he owes it to his wife and daughter Callie.

"When she was a baby I'd be up at two in the morning watching game film and feeding her a bottle at the same time," Hallman said. "It's all she's ever known of me. I've been coaching at Saugus her entire life."

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