Shane Matzen is stepping down after 17 seasons as the boys basketball coach at Marquette High School to become the school’s athletics director.
“The last time I interviewed for a job was 1996,” he said. “There’s been other things come open, but I never even thought about interviewing because this is the place I want to be. This is the only job I would have interviewed for because this school is my home. This is something I might have seen down the road for me, eventually. I didn’t know it would happen this soon, but it’s one of those opportunities that’s there.”
It was an opportunity Matzen could not pass up.
The administration’s decision, which was approved by the school board on Thursday night, becomes official on July 1.
Matzen will replace Mark Linneman, who is retiring after 22 years as an athletic/activities director. Linneman served as the athletics director at Marquette for the past 11 years and in 2012 was named the St. Louis area athletic director of the year by the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Matzen went 247-213 in his 17 seasons at Marquette, won district championships in 2011 and 2012 and finished fourth in Missouri Class 5 in 2012.
He knows is he going to miss coaching basketball because it has been special to him.
“The one thing that makes me feel OK about it is, some of the things that I think are things I do well, I’ll be able to do for more people,” Matzen said. “And all those people are Marquette people. Whether they are in the band or the theatre or the cross country team, the football team, now I get to do things for more Mustangs than I did before. I’ll still be doing those things for my guys on the basketball court, too.”
The Mustangs went 18-8 this season and claimed a share of the Suburban West Conference championship, the team’s first league title since 1996. Senior forward Matt Hink was selected as the conference’s player of the year, becoming the second straight Marquette player to earn that distinction after 2012 graduate Ryan Rosburg was similarly honored last season.
Matzen and his wife, Tina, have two sons, Jack and Ross.
Jack appeared in 15 games for the Mustangs this season as a sophomore. Instead of coaching his sons in the future, Matzen will be able to watch.
“I get to be a dad and a fan,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of guys that coached their sons or others that stepped back. I think everybody’s situation is just different. I’ve got two boys that I’m really proud of. They both said they wish I would have been their coach, but they both are very supportive of me. Of course, I love them and they love me. We’re going to be fine and we’re going to get a great coach here.”
Matzen and school officials will discuss the plan to pick his successor in the next few weeks, he said.
He’ll work diligently to find the best possible person to be the next coach of the Mustangs after all the hard work he has poured into the program during his tenure.
“I’ve got a lot on this," Matzen said. “It was my program I ran for almost 20 years. That’s part of it. The other part is I’ve got boys that I love almost like sons and I’ve got sons coming. So it’s very important to me to get somebody that I think will do a good job and I don’t think we’ll have any trouble finding that.”
Matzen was an assistant coach at Central Methodist University for two years and spent three years as the head coach at Elsberry High School — going 44-33 — before moving on to Marquette. He spent one season as an assistant coach with the Mustangs under John David Patillo before becoming the head coach for the 1996-97 season.
After 17 years in charge of the Marquette boys basketball program, Matzen is appreciative of everyone he’s been fortunate enough to coach and knows those players made it all possible with the commitment they made to doing whatever they could to help the Mustangs win games.
“Last night, I sent a text and e-mail out to all my alumni and my current players and my phone and e-mail box got filled up pretty quick,” Matzen said. “I had guys that were 15 years old texting me and I had 34-year-olds texting me. I guess that means I’m getting old. But they are special. Everybody wants to point to going to Columbia last year and those guys, I’ll never forget that and I love them to death for it.
"But, I love those guys that won nine and 10 ballgames just as much because — and this applies to not only me, but everybody who has ever coached — those guys go out there and run and dive on the floor and get bloody knees and shins banged up and they do it because we ask them to. That’s an amazing gift they give us. It’s just incredible and I’m overwhelmed that I’ve had so many guys that would do that for me and, to be honest with you, I could never repay them.”