Moline High School is looking for a new boys basketball coach but has found a high-energy leader to guide its girls basketball program.
In two separate news releases sent out Tuesday, Moline athletic director Todd Rosenthal announced the recommendations for the release of Jeff Schimmel as the Maroons’ boys head varsity coach and the appointment of Tracy Sant Amour as the girls head varsity coach, pending approval at an April 11 board meeting.
After 12 years with the Moline freshman and sophomore squads, Schimmel took over as varsity head coach of his alma mater when Ryan Webber left for Warren Township in 2012. The Maroons went 62-59 in Schimmel’s four seasons at the helm with three winning seasons preceding a 10-18 mark this year, the team’s first losing season since 2006-07.
Schimmel’s Maroons were unable to emerge as contenders in Western Big Six play, going 16-24 over four seasons. The team went 5-5 in the league in each of his first two years and was 2-8 in the Big Six this past season. In the postseason, Moline’s longest run under Schimmel was to the regional finals in 2014-15.
Rosenthal declined to comment on the factors that went into the recommendation for Schimmel’s release but stated “I have a high regard for his character, he’s always above board, and I enjoyed working with him.”
Schimmel will remain on staff at Moline as the driver’s education teacher. His replacement as boys head coach has not been determined.
Sant Amour takes over the girls program just over a month after Steve Ford, the winningest coach in team history, stepped down after leading the Maroons to 10 regional and six conference titles in 17 seasons.
A 1996 Moline grad, Sant Amour has been a coach in the program for 10 years, mostly at the freshman level. This will be the physical education teacher’s first time as a varsity head coach and she’s excited for the new opportunity.
“I love the school, I love the community. These Moline girls, I was one of them, so as a teacher I’m trying to empower young girls at that level, and I think at the coaching level I can even do a lot more,” Sant Amour said.
Sant Amour has plenty of experience with the team’s returners from coaching them as freshmen and plans to run a similar system to Ford. Rosenthal expects it to be a fairly seamless transition.
“I think she brings a tremendous amount of energy to our program. She’s just one of those type of coaches that kids respond to really well,” Rosenthal said. “The same goes for her teaching. She’s very motivating and I think that’s probably because of her energy level. We’re excited to have her and to see what she can do with the program.”
The Maroons will lose four seniors from a team that finished 17-13. All-conference first team forward Alannah Crompton will be one of several returners who were in the varsity rotation.
Sant Amour said she’s known for making her players work hard on conditioning and hopes she can help mold them into a fast-paced team that runs the floor well and plays lock-down defense.
“I have a really great rapport with all of them. I have really high expectations for the team this next year,” Sant Amour said. “I think they have a lot of potential and my goal is to bring that out in them.”