Basketball teams are like second families to most coaches.

Ultimately, though, their top priority remains their first family, which can lead to difficult decisions like the one Todd Dermody recently made in stepping down as New Prairie’s girls basketball coach.

“I had planned on coming back, but things came up at home that I have to take care of with my family for the next couple years,” he said. “It’s not something I want to do, but it’s something I have to do. It’s bittersweet. The girls are headed in the right direction. Everything’s on the up and up. They’re in a good spot to do some positive things.”

The program hasn’t won more than nine games in a season since 2004, its last winning season. It went 9-38 in Dermody’s two years, ending this 4-19 campaign on a seven-game losing streak, but it competed well in a 58-41 sectional loss to South Bend Washington. Additionally, it returns its top two players in Jordan Winters and Eva Dodds.

“I told them at the banquet I’m positive they’re going to have more success without me than they did with me,” Dermody said. “Everybody at New Prairie is super supportive, the community, the parents, the administration. (Athletic Director) Ben Bachmann is great. He supports his coaches. It was a positive experience.”

A La Porte graduate who started his high school career at New Prairie, Dermody will continue as the Alternative Education teacher at the high school. He leaves the door open to a return to coaching, but emphasized that his decision has nothing to do with the coinciding vacancy at La Porte, where Rob Walker recently stepped down. “New Prairie and La Porte are both like home to me,” he said. “I hope they both find great coaches for their teams. I feel like I’ll get back in coaching. The only thing that may prevent that is if I pursue education administration, but that’s not something I’ve really started to think about. I’m loving teaching for right now.”

Dermody’s successor will be the Cougars’ fifth coach since the 2014-15 season.

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