DECATUR – Following a sixth losing season, Millikin men's basketball coach Matt Nadelhoffer will not return to the Big Blue bench.
Millikin said Nadelhoffer resigned to pursue other interests.
Thursday's announcement came two days after Millikin finished the season with a 3-22 record.
“I'd like to thank all of my fellow coaches that have been with me. I want to thank all of my fellow coaches within the athletic department,” Nadelhoffer said shortly after the announcement. “I've made some really, really good friends in the community and felt like I had good support in the community.
“I came here six years ago and fell in love with Millikin. It was very hard to tell my team this afternoon. I told them, as I've always told my teams, it's about relationships and I love all of them.”
Millikin Director of Athletics Dr. Craig White said a search for a replacement will begin immediately. The current assistant coaches will remain on staff to direct the program until a replacement is named.
“I want to thank coach Nadelhoffer for his contributions to Millikin over the last six years,” White said in a release. “Matt is a man of strong character and I appreciate his work ethic and the values and life lessons he instilled in his players during his time leading the Big Blue basketball program.”
Nadelhoffer took over a program in trouble and in his first season went 1-24. His next teams won 8, 8, 8 and 9 games before taking another step backwards this season. His career at Millikin ended with a 37-113 record. In the CCIW, it was 13-73.
“I definitely will miss Millikin, but I did my best and I want my next situation to be where there is a true commitment to winning at the highest level,” Nadelhoffer said.
“I would like to say sorry to the people who believed in me and supported me in thinking we could turn it around,” he said. “I feel bad. I thought we could get it turned around.
“I wish Millikin nothing but the best moving forward.”
A month ago, Nadelhoffer tweeted that although his team was having another tough season, “I can say this … there is nothing or no place me or my wife, Rebecca would rather be than Millikin-I am a believer … ”
Nadelhoffer said Thursday he still felt that way, while he's unsure what is next.
“I really felt like the Lord called my wife and I here. Now I don't know why, but I'm sure there is a plan for the Nadelhoffer family.”
He wasn't ready to rule out coaching again but also acknowledged he could join the business sector.
“I don't know because of the timing of everything,” he said. “I don't know what my next move is going to be. If anybody in the community has an interest, I feel I am talented and worth it.”
Prior to Millikin, Nadelhoffer coached Eastern University for nine seasons. His 2008-09 team set a school record for wins (17) and the following season the team had the highest conference finish in school history.
But he said Millikin presents challenges he hopes the next coach won't be up against for long.
Nadelhoffer took over for Marc Smith who was 33-66 in his four seasons. The Big Blue have had just two winning seasons since 2000.
“We haven't necessarily kept up to date with certain things,” he said of Millikin. “It goes back to everybody will say they want to win but very few will do what it takes. We are behind in some areas.
But we are a great place. People here are what make it a great place.”
He mentioned the lack of improvement in facilities for basketball and for coaches.
“We talk about creating an atmosphere of success. I don't know if they really have that here right now,” Nadelhoffer said. “At some point, they're going to have to do it. They owe it to the students who come and pay tuition. We're in the CCIW. We need to be better that way.
“But in the bottom line, I didn't get the job done. I didn't win enough games.”