St. Louis Catholic boys basketball head coach Rick LeBato resigned Wednesday, ending a successful eight-year run at the school.
LeBato said uncertainty over what the season would look like due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire not to leave the school in a bind led him to the decision.
"We have been dealing with this thing since March, hoping that it would clear up," he said. "It hasn't and I didn't want to handcuff the administration. I want them to be able to go get a head coach, get assistants in here. I had to do what was best for myself, my family and the kids in the program."
LeBato went 150-88 at St. Louis and has a career record of 772-245, including stints at Grand Lake, Vinton, Sulphur and Northside in Lafayette.
"We had seven great years out of eight, the first year is always hard," he said. "We reached the semifinals four times and quarterfinals three times with quite a few district championships. It was a great run. We did it with a lot of kids that had to work their tails off to maybe get to play as a senior. It has been a lot of fun."
Last year the Saints went 23-9, won District 4-3A with an 8-2 record and reached the semifinals of the Division II playoffs before losing to eventual state champion St. Thomas More.
LeBato said the Saints have a good team coming back.
"I was really looking forward to coaching this group," he said. "There are three kids with a presence inside and some shooters as well."
Saints Athletic Director Pat Neck said a new head coach will be hired before the season starts.
"We are sorry to see Coach LeBato leave but we certainly respect his decision," Neck said. "He did a fantastic job in his eight years here, not only on the court but in his leadership of the young men he coached. We are grateful for everything he did for our school and program."