Dominant Michigan girls hoops coach resigns over ‘extreme parental interference’

Once in awhile, a coach decides he's just had enough. That was clearly the case in suburban Detroit when Grosse Pointe Woods (Mich.) University Liggett High girls basketball coach Wayne Gigante resigned last week, citing "extreme parental interference" as the reason for his mid-season departure.

Grosse Pointe Liggett girls basketball coach Wayne Gigante — Flickr
Grosse Pointe Liggett girls basketball coach Wayne Gigante — Flickr

The real question is why that parental interference was happening. Clearly, parents couldn't be upset with University Liggett's results; as noted by the Detroit News, the girls hoops squad reached the Michigan High School Athletic Association Class C state final with a 25-2 final record in 2010-11, which was Gigante's second season at the Liggett helm.

The 2011-12 season has started out just as brightly, with Liggett out to a 3-1 start -- the only loss came at the hands of a 2010-11 state semifinalist from a higher class -- with most of the core of the 2011-12 squad gelling into a formidable force for a second consecutive season.

Gigante was quick to note the potential of the current Liggett squad, but said that the interference from parents close to the program had grown so overbearing that he couldn't bear to sit on the sideline any longer.

"That team is so capable of winning the state championship and it's killing me to step down since I've helped build something special the last 2 1/2 years," Gigante told the Detroit News. "I've been coaching basketball for 10 years and never had a problem with a player. We know what we want to do. We know what the kids are capable of doing. I had a good feel for this team, but I can't do it anymore.

"There can only be one voice, and that has to be the coach. You can't have kids looking up in the stands for instructions. It's too much of a disruption. Dad needs to be up in the stands supporting his kids, not coaching them. This had been building up a bit and it was just time. Maybe the pressure will be off the players now. Kids are supposed to have fun."

Now, Liggett will have to find a way to have fun without Gigante, who steps aside into an unknown future. Varsity girls basketball assistant coach Joe LaMango will reportedly lead the program for the remainder of the 2011-12 season, trying to fill the rather sizable shoes left by a coach who led the program to a 51-6 record in less than 2 1/2 seasons.

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