St. Francis replaces coach after disappointing 0-11 start

1/23/2012
BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Brad Britton.
Brad Britton.

Winless through 11 games of the 2011-12 high school basketball season, second-year St. Francis de Sales head coach Brad Britton will not get a chance to end that losing streak.

"Brad Britton is no longer our coach," said St. Francis co-athletic director Dick Cromwell, who declined to reveal whether Britton's exit was a resignation or a dismissal by the school. "Myron Watkins will be our coach for the remainder of the season."

Watkins, a former Bowsher player and Rogers assistant coach, joined the Knights' staff as an assistant last season.

Cromwell declined any further explanation on the change but did confirm that Britton would remain at St. Francis in his primary profession as an English teacher. A call to Britton seeking comment was not returned Sunday night. He was 5-27 overall at St. Francis in a season and a half.

A 55-45 loss to visiting Clay Friday night dropped St. Francis to 0-11 overall and 0-7 in Three Rivers Athletic Conference play. The disappointing start came on the heels of the Knights' 2010-11 season under Britton, when they finished 5-16 overall and 1-9 in the City League.

Former St. Francis head coach Nick Lowe, who was 113-62 overall with five City League playoff appearances in his nine seasons guiding the team, resigned following the 2009-10 season after leading the Knights to their first City League championship game appearance in 19 years.

Many seniors, who were the Knights' top players in 2009-10, graduated from that team, and Britton entered the job in a clear rebuilding situation.

This year's team has been outscored by an average of 66-49 per game but did produce two serious challenges along the way.

The Knights lost 47-41 to TRAC co-leader Central Catholic in overtime and were edged 60-59 on a last-second shot at Rogers, one of the City League's top teams. Both of those squads reached the state semifinals last season -- Central in Division I and Rogers in D-II.

During the St. Francis coaching search following Lowe's resignation, Britton was invited by school administrators to interview for the job, and he accepted the post in June of 2010.

He had been a St. Francis assistant coach for three seasons under head coach Val Glinka during the greatest basketball run in school history, including the Knights' 27-1 Class AAA state championship season of 1982-83 and a 22-2 finish the following season.

Britton later spent 20 seasons as a head coach, including 13 seasons at McComb, three at Margaretta, and four at Hopewell-Loudon. His career also included three years as an assistant at Ottawa Hills and one at Tiffin Columbian.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com 419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.