ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills Thunder boys basketball coach, Steve Melessa, stepped down today. Coach Melessa led the Thunder to a Region 9 regular season championship with a 21-4 record.
Melessa was an assistant and head coach for over 25 years. As a head coach, Melessa won a state championship with Pine View High School in 2006 and led the Thunder to the championship game this year where they came up just short.
Melessa said he thought about retiring last year but told the school he would take it year by year. He told his wife before the season started that this would be his last season.
“I’m stepping down for three reasons,” said Melessa, “family, church, and my age.” Melessa has a daughter that is going to be a senior in high school and his other children are scattered around. The coach is going to be a grandpa for a fourteenth and fifteenth time this year and wants to have time with his children and grandchildren.
Melessa will continue to teach, but as he did with his coaching, he will take it year by year.
The coach said the Thunder underclassmen are very talented and the new coach will have a great group of kids and basketball players to work with.
“Principal Taylor of Desert Hills High School will offer the job to one of the assistant coaches and will not open the job up,” he said, “much like the football team.”
Brandon Simister said: “ It’s sad to see him go. He’s a great coach, but not only is he a great coach but a great guy. He truly cares about all of us and he will be missed, but he needs to take care of some things that don’t concern basketball right now.”
About the future of the program, Simister said: “I know the program will be great regardless of who the head coach is. We have good sophomores and juniors and they will do a great job next season.”
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.