Following two seasons that ended with the Atascadero High boys basketball team atop the PAC 7 standings, coach Matt Knudson has decided to make his successful tenure leading the Greyhounds a short one.
The two-year coach confirmed to The Tribune on Friday he has stepped down from his position, citing time commitment issues.
“It was an extremely tough decision,” said Knudson, who went 43-12 coaching his alma mater. “It’s an excellent group of kids, but just with work and my family — I’ve got a baby girl on the way — it’s a lot. It’s too much.”
Knudson said the notion of walking away never crossed his mind during the season, as the Greyhounds won an undefeated league title in convincing fashion before falling in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA quarterfinals.
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Shortly after, he learned his wife was pregnant with their third child, and he began to contemplate his future with the program.
He made his final decision this week, and informed his players Friday.
“I’m still going to stay around basketball in the area,” Knudson said. “Maybe help out with the coaches next year or coach (Tom) Donovan at the JV level.”
Knudson said he felt Donovan would “do a great job” moving up to varsity, “but I know there are a lot of great coaches in the area.”
Knudson took over the Greyhounds after longtime coach Jerry Tamelier retired following 2011-12.
“We appreciate everything (Knudson) has done for us,” athletic director Sam DeRose said. “He came in during a time of transition after Jerry had to step down due to health issues. Matt stepped in and did a great job. He gave us two great years.”
Atascadero lost the first five games of Knudson’s tenure, but rebounded to share the league title with Righetti with a 10-2 mark.
Led by a strong senior class that included two-time Tribune County Player of the Year Robbie Berwick, the Greyhounds went 24-3 this season and 12-0 in the PAC 7 before falling 49-47 in a road playoff game to Servite.
Knudson’s Greyhounds played an up-tempo game predicated on an aggressive defense that led to quick transition buckets.
On the offensive end, Atascadero ran a free-flowing motion offense that took advantage of its abundance of 3-point shooters.
“It was a blast coaching the kids,” Knudson said. “It was a big-time commitment, but I’m grateful and I’m happy that I was able to do it.”
The new coach won’t have many of those players at their disposal next year, as the Greyhounds graduate all five starters and could have as many as six playing in college next year.
Berwick is bound for Florida State, while point guard Connor Kim has commited to Southwestern University in Texas.
Joe Johnson will attend Brown, and Knudson said he might walk on. Fellow first-team all-county guard Jared Stuedemann is still weighing his options, but has drawn interest along the West Coast.
Forward Kevin Woodard and shooting guard Cameren Fetzer will play at junior college Fresno City College, Knudson said.