OGLESBY — In a perfect world, Pat Cinotte, would continue to strive to bring a national championship to Illinois Valley Community College.
He directed the IVCC women’s basketball team to National Tournament appearances, compiling a 103-29 record in two seasons with one Arrowhead Conference championship. However, he will leave that national title run to the next coach.
Cinotte told the BCR Monday night he had submitted his resignation for a lot of reasons. He cited a planned reduction in tuition waivers for athletics, last week’s board approval of a freeze on head coaching salaries and the reduction in assistant coaches pay to $2,500 per sport.
Cinotte said at the end of February a tuition waiver freeze was issued and he was asked to provide a list of the current student-athletes he was recruiting. At that time, he said he was unable to add to the list even as the original ones elected to go elsewhere.
“If a coach called and said he had an All-American who wanted to play at IVCC, I couldn’t take them. I couldn’t add anyone. It really hurt my recruiting,” Cinotte said, adding his allotted tuition waivers has been dropped from 12 to nine.
Another part of Cinotte’s decision comes to the future conference home for IVCC athletics. He said he was told by school officials they were considering leaving the Arrowhead Conference to play independently.
In a press release, IVCC President Jerry Corcoran thanked Cinotte for maintaining “a highly successful program that produced dozens of outstanding student-athletes.” Corcoran said IVCC’s business actions were a sign of the times.
“In the face of continuing budgetary challenges, we continue to look at areas to reduce costs. Tuition waivers directly affect our operating budget,” said Corcoran. “The recommendation to freeze head coaches’ salaries and reduce assistant coaches’ pay came from the athletic department.”
As the budget has tightened, no area in the college has been exempt, Corcoran said. Going into fiscal 2013, nine full-time vacancies were not filled and five full-time positions will be reduced to part-time in fiscal 2014.
Corcoran said another factor forcing difficult decisions for many of the college’s departments – including athletics – is implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Due to ACA regulations, IVCC has limited part-time employees – including many coaches – to 29 hours per week.
Cinotte, who led their Lady Eagles to national tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011, said it was his goal when he came to IVCC to play for a National championship. He doesn’t see that happening now.
“When you put 110 percent into your job, it’s disappointing you don’t get the support,” he said.
Cinotte was hired in May, 2009, following the death of 10-year women’s coach Steve Crick. In four years at Hall High School, Cinotte coached the girls team to an 87-32 record, an Elite Eight state tournament appearance and three regional championships.
Over his 18-year coaching career, Cinotte was a volunteer IVCC men’s basketball assistant to Gerry Thornton (1995-1997), a paid assistant to Thornton’s successor Mike Riley (1998-2001) and head boys coach at DePue High School (2001-2004).
“I am confident the next women’s coach will continue the commitment to excellence established by Steve Crick and Pat Cinotte,” said Corcoran. “Although I am proud of the women’s basketball record for wins and losses, what is most gratifying to me is the academic success our student athletes have achieved.”
The Lady Eagles staff also took a blow with the resignation of assistant coach Rex Shanyfelt, according to Cinotte, on the heels of his salary cut.
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