Dellis steps away from Miner bench
After seven years on the bench, Nevada Union High School varsity boys basketball coach Jeff Dellis has announced he will step down from the helm of the Miners program.
In a letter released Friday, Dellis stated his reasons for resigning as “family and personal concerns,” although he intends to continue with his teaching position at NU.
“It’s been seven years and my kids are 15 and 13 years old now,” Dellis told The Union Friday. “Zach’s only going to be here a couple more years and Brandon’s a short-timer, too.
“I think it’s important to focus my attention on my own boys, first and foremost,”
Dellis took the reins of the program following the 2000-01 school year, which included the final season for former coach Ryan Curry, for whom Dellis served as an assistant for four seasons.
He led Nevada Union to three-straight Metro Conference championships between 2003-2006 and five straight playoff appearances from 2001-06.
“Obviously, I love coaching,” Dellis said. “I’m committed to working with young men and I will do that in various other capacities.
“But right now my focus is on my family, my health and my day job, which is teaching.”
Dellis teaches advanced placement government, politics and economics. He has worked in the Nevada Joint Union High School District for 12 years, including the past 10 at Nevada Union. And he’s not the only member of the household working for the district. His wife, Trisha, is an assistant superintendent for NJUHSD.
Nevada Union junior John Wivholm said his coach called the team together after school Friday to break the news. For Wivholm, who has played for NU’s varsity since his freshman season and has one season still ahead, the news was tough to take.
“Coming in, nobody was really sure what we were going to talk about,” Wivholm said. “I think everybody in the room was shocked. Nobody expected it and nobody wanted it.
“Ever since I was a freshman, we’ve been talking about my senior year. I don’t even know what to think. It’s sad he won’t be able to coach my senior year.
“But it’s a personal choice, a family choice and he had to make that decision. As much as I want him to be there for my senior year, I understand where he’s coming from.”
Though is letter stated that both family and health concerns were deciding factors, Dellis said Friday that there was no immediate health emergency with which to be concerned.
“I’m not going to keel over,” Dellis said with a laugh. “But my blood pressure is high. You know, I wake up thinking basketball and I fall asleep thinking basketball, so that’s wreaked a little havoc on my health.
“I’ve just kind of neglected my health. It’s nothing life threatening right now, but over the long term it could certainly shorten my life.”
Dellis said over the past 21 years, he’s only spent two seasons away from the basketball bench – 2000-01, the year his mother passed away, and another season while he was coaching overseas.
Such a consistent commitment to the profession doesn’t surprise those who have worked alongside him, such as Nevada Union freshman coach Dallas Wivholm, the father of John Wivholm.
“I think he’s all about quality character and a quality program, about developing the entire player – the entire person – not just the basketball player,” Dallas Wivholm said. “Not only am I part of his coaching staff, but I have a son in the program as well. And I just found out today, so I’m just stunned.”
Nevada Union athletic director Steve Pilcher said he know finding a suitable replacement won’t be an easy process.
“It’s tough to find a good on-campus coach and Jeff’s also such a good guy,” Pilcher said. “He loves the kids and he’s put his heart and soul into that program.
“I think the biggest loss for me is going to be his relationship with those kids. As you know, we’re more than teachers and more than coaches. He dealt with a lot of kids with a lot of issues that go way beyond the scope of basketball and the classroom. And to me, that’s going the biggest thing, his passion and love for the kids.”
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
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