Bance retained as Chatfield coach

Tom Bance has kept his job as the Chatfield boys basketball coach.

Bance, who has served as Gophers head coach the past 11 years, was the subject of discontent by some Chatfield parents. They were thought to be trying to sway the Chatfield school board to not renew his contract.

But on Monday night, with the support of Chatfield school Superintendent Edward Harris, the board voted 5-1 to renew all of Chatfield's fall and winter coaches of 2012-13.

They did it with the backdrop of developing a new system to support and evaluate coaches, while providing a mechanism to allow for and honor parent opinion.

In a written statement to the board, Edwards stated: "The development of this oversight and support mechanism for head coaches needs to include provisions for frequent evaluation of the system's effectiveness by the administration, including the ability to identify and act upon any changes that should be made. A coaching handbook should be developed as an instrument to administer the new practices and procedures."


Bance went into the meeting feeling like he had a solid chance of being retained.

"I thought the support I was getting the last week or so would have some impact," said Bance, 42. "The teachers at the school board meeting really rallied around me. It was good to see all of that support. I was nervous, but cautiously optimistic that I'd be back. I'm excited. If I didn't want to coach, I wouldn't have gone through all of this. I would have resigned a long time ago."

Bance has had some success at Chatfield.

In 11 years as the Gophers head coach he has a 149-139 record. That includes going 26-3 in 2005, the year he led Chatfield to the state tournament.

He also turned in a solid year this season. Chatfield went 15-11 overall, and won 10 of its last 14 games. The season ended abruptly, though, with a loss in the first round of the playoffs to Winona Cotter.

Bance takes solace in that final stretch of the season. He notes that a letter from parents complaining about his coaching was delivered to the Chatfield school board the middle of January. It was after that that his team got hot, going 10-4 the rest of the way.

Bance said he made no alterations to his coaching to comply with the disgruntled parents' wishes. But he did say that his team began to play harder than ever.

"What it tells me is that our kids didn't quit on me," Bance said. "The kids seemed to be behind me, because we played our best basketball down the stretch."


When asked what was addressed in the letter to the school board, which was signed by parents and Bance read, the Chatfield coach declined to discuss it for this story, other than to say: "To tell you the truth, some of the stuff was so out there that I didn't know what they were talking about. After the letter came out, I became more aware of the parents. But it didn't affect the way I coached."

In the last six years, Bance's teams have gone 15-11, 8-12, 10-17, 2-24, 17-9 and 17-9.

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