2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 9/18/2017 9:36 PM

Girls basketball: Mello steps down at Bartlett

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Dave Mello took over the Bartlett girls basketball program two years ago from Denise Sarna, the Hawks' only head coach for the school's first 17 years.

The Hawks went 22-8 in Mello's first season, winning 13 games in a row late in the year until being knocked out by Montini in the sectionals.

Bartlett had to replace nine seniors in Mello's second season, and the Hawks finished 12-18.

That also turned out to be Mello's final season at Bartlett. He recently resigned his position, taking the girls varsity job at Fenton where he also has been the school's softball coach the last 11 years and is a coach in the volleyball program.

Mello does a lot of behind the wheel work at Fenton in the evenings, which he said was the main reason for his decision. He's coached at the lower levels at Fenton since 1995, and has been doing behind the wheel work there since 2002.

Mello said Fenton's varsity position came open at end of August. The girls basketball season begins in six weeks.

"It was going to be much more conducive to my schedule to already be there at night as opposed to traveling from here (Bartlett) over there in the evenings," Mello said. "I have a couple boys getting ready to go off to college in the next year and year after so the behind the wheel money is a bonus. It was a financial move that needed to be made."

Still a teacher at Bartlett, Mello coached the Hawks girls basketball team this summer. They went 18-6 led by senior Kayla Hare, a Division II commit to University of Missouri-St. Louis.

"We had implemented a new system and have four freshmen who spent a lot of time with us this summer and Kayla, I was expecting big things this year," Mello said. "I told the girls when I broke the news I'll still be here (as a teacher) if they need anything and I'll be out to see them play as much as possible. I'm looking forward to them competing for and hopefully winning another conference title."

Mello said he hopes his assistant Brad Hunt, who coached with him this summer, will be the next coach.

The move definitely came with mixed emotions.

"It's not anything I wanted to do," Mello said. "The two years here taking over for Denise who had built the program into one of the tops in the area, that first season was unreal. Leading the program here was a huge responsibility.

"They (the players) were very understanding. It was very difficult, very tough. A couple of the meetings were pretty emotional. Especially the girls who were with me my entirety here having them in class and having them in the basketball season. It was very difficult to say the least but I did want to stress to them if they need anything to reach out any time."

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