This is not how Jason Bonde wanted to start his career as the head coach of the Rochester Community and Technical College women's basketball team.
Bonde took over in July when Steve Hucke stepped down following the 2018-19 season. This past week RCTC had to pull the plug on the 2019-20 season due to a lack of players.
"It is (disappointing)," Bonde said. "I was looking forward to it. The girls that I did have playing were working hard. It was not an easy decision to make, but I think it was the right decision to make. They would have loved to play and I would have loved to do that as well."
Bonde said the decision not to play this season was a "pure numbers situation."
RCTC had just seven players out for the team, and one who is coming off of knee surgery.
"With six players, you're only one injury away from forfeiting games and we wanted to avoid that," Bonde said. "We did what was best for them as far as having the full experience of what they came to RCTC for as well."
The Yellowjackets only had three players returning from last year's team, which finished 10-15. Bonde wasn't helped out by the fact he was hired in July to replace Hucke. The new coach did have four freshmen committed to play for the team.
"I don't want to put all the blame on that, but being hired in late July, recruiting is tough at that time," Bonde said. "But I was unable to find enough girls who wanted to play. And as the head coach of the program, I put that on me to find enough players."
He said that once the school year started he tried to get some women on campus to go out for the team.
"We tried, we reached out, but it just didn't work out," Bonde said.
Bonde also didn't have a lot of contacts in the area in terms of girls basketball coaches. He had been the assistant men's basketball coach at RCTC in recent years. Bonde said he has already started recruiting for next season.
"I'm starting to reach out to coaches," he said. "I've got to build those connections on the women's side that I haven't had before. Recruiting's different, guys vs. girls, it's different. I've got to figure that out and I'm going to work hard to field a team next year."
Despite this season being called off, Bonde is still going to practice with the players few days a week.
"They're still going to work on some things and we've been in the gym almost every day and we're in the weight room," he said. "We're working on the things we need to work on as far as individual skills go for the most part."