Leaving Elgin High to become the next athletic director at Hampshire was a matter of perfect timing for Maroons' boys basketball coach Mike Sitter.
Sitter, 47, was hired Tuesday by Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 to replace retiring Hampshire athletic director Dave Hicks effective July 1.
Sitter said he intended to step away from coaching after the 2017-18 season regardless because the youngest of his two sons, Jackson, will graduate in May and two longtime assistants are stepping down after this season. Then Hicks announced his retirement.
"I just think it came at the perfect time," Sitter said. "It was like the perfect storm. I was done this year no matter what with coaching. It just felt like a good time to leave, so I wanted to go the administrative route. I wanted to be an AD and I've been talking about that for awhile with my family and some mentors. The job came about and it was just a great fit."
Sitter is an Elgin High graduate who went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois and a Master's in Leadership from Aurora University. He spent three years as a teacher and coach at Round Lake before returning to Elgin 17 years ago.
He took over as head coach of the Maroons on an interim basis shortly before the 2007-08 season and guided them to a 22-10 record, capped by a sectional title.
Sitter was named Elgin's head coach permanently in April of 2008. In 11 seasons he owns a record of 154-142 and his teams have won three regional titles, most recently in 2012. Elgin is 4-10 this season.
"I do think I've stabilized that basketball program a little and I think I'm going to leave it in good hands, hopefully," he said. "There are some prospective coaches out there who are willing to step up and take the challenge of keeping Elgin going in a good direction. I think it will be all right."
When Sitter was named Elgin's head coach in 2008, he called it his "dream job" and said "I'll be at Elgin until they drag my rotting corpse from the building." Thus, leaving his alma mater for an administrative opportunity will be bittersweet.
"It's tough leaving the school," he said. "My mother (Susan) taught here for 34 years so it will be the first time a Sitter hasn't been in the building since the mid-seventies. That will be kind of tough.
"But it's an opportunity for me. It's exciting. The facilities at Hampshire are top notch. There's a lot of potential growth out there. I think I'm a young guy still. I feel young. I know I don't have administrative experience, but I also have a lot of energy and I think I can bring some good things to that program."
Sitter already knows Hampshire principal Brett Bending. The two worked together as coaches for one year at Round Lake 20 years ago. He also knows Hicks a bit because their sons played for the same travel baseball team a few summers ago.
"I've been watching what he's been doing at Elgin High and he's done a great job," Hicks said of Sitter. "When we had the interviews it's obvious that he's passionate about going in a different direction and coming here, so I feel pretty happy turning over everything to Mike and look forward to the transition."
Madhu Krishnamurthy contributed to this report