Pasanen resigns as Conneaut's girls basketball coach

Ian Kreider, Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio
·4 min read

Mar. 21—Tony Pasanen is resigning as head coach of Conneaut's girls basketball team, citing a lack of time as the main reason.

"I'm not quitting because I don't enjoy it," Pasanen said. "I still really enjoy it, and I love the girls. I just don't have enough time. I'm spread too thin, and if I can't give it 100 percent then I can't do it."

Despite resigning as head coach, Pasanen's coaching presence will still be present in the community. He plans on coaching his son, who's currently in second grade, in a variety of sports.

"My son [AJ] basically wants me to coach him in every sport imaginable," Pasanen said. "I did that with both my daughters when they were young."

Conneaut Athletic Director Joel Taylor commented on Pasanen.

"He's well liked, the girls were comfortable with him," Taylor said. "He puts lots of time into this. He's been a devoted coach. He's always someone you can count on as part of the coaching staff. If help is needed in other areas, he's one of the first people to step up and offer his assistance, whether it's basketball or not."

Taylor said the start for a new coach will begin soon.

"We want to see what our staffing needs are going to be as we come toward the end of the school year," he said. "Eventually, this job will be posted internally for two weeks. If no one shows any interest or if multiple people show interest, we'll schedule interviews.

"We'll open it up outside the district after that period of time if we don't find anyone from within, and then we just go from there."

Pasanen will continue his role as an assistant coach for the Spartans' football team and hopes to help out with the girls basketball team, as his daughter, Laney still has two more years of eligibility.

"It's not like I'm going to be completely gone from it," Pasanen said. "I plan on helping. I just can't devote the time I think is necessary to be a head coach. I would love to see somebody take it over, a younger coach, and be able to help them. But I'll definitely be around. I'm not gonna be the head coach, but I'm gonna be helping some way that's for sure."

Pasanen's appreciative of his time coaching basketball and the common bond it provided with his daughters as they grew older. He also values the relationships coaching brought him with the other players, especially as he watched the current group of seniors progress from elementary school to seniors.

"One thing I always tell the girls is the game gives you more than you give the game," Pasanen said. "Especially as I've gotten older, I've really learned to appreciate that. The time that it's given me with my daughters. Most fathers, when your kids get older, especially with girls, it's harder to relate, and we always had that common bond of basketball."

That bond helped Pasanen relate and build relationships over the years with his players, especially the seniors.

"In many ways, it's not like I have one daughter graduating, it's like I have seven daughters graduating," Pasanen said.

As the team he's known for about a decade graduates later this year, Pasanen reflects on the difference between the first game he coached them to the last.

"The very first game we played in third grade when we probably lost by 70 points to an AAU all-star team to the final game I coached them at Edgewood, we won a thrilling game, really it was like everything came full circle," he said.

For Pasanen, the relationships his players have maintained over the years is one of the most gratifying elements from his time coaching them.

"In many ways, they're still the same way they were as third graders, and that's, what really to me, makes them so special is that they've always stayed close and are just great kids," Pasanen said. "I guarantee you all of them are going to be successful in the next phase of their life."