St. Charles East boys varsity basketball coach Pat Woods announced July 28 on Twitter his departure from the program after 12 seasons.
Woods led the Saints to a regional title last season, the program’s first since 2016. After winning four games the previous year, St. Charles East rebounded to reach a Class 4A sectional final in March.
Woods, who began as head varsity coach in July 2011, said in his posted message that he has been “presented with an opportunity that I am incredibly excited about” and will share more information soon.
“I’m almost to the point of ‘speechless.’ The memories and experiences that I had [in] my 12 years at East,” Woods told the Kane County Chronicle on July 28. “From the students, to my players, coaching staff, faculty, admin, it’s been beyond great. ... I am excited to take that [next] step.
“I’ve been part of a great culture at St. Charles East and I want to help enhance and build the culture where I’m going [pending board approval]. There’s so many people I could thank and it’s impossible, my players ... for believing in me and trusting in me. I think this year was almost like a pinnacle of coming together, believing with the run we made at the end of the season.”
The Saints won six games in a row before losing in the sectional final to Rockford-Auburn on March 3.
“It’s not necessarily talent,” Woods said of the late-season run. “It was more the belief, the trust, and the things that you want the kids to carry on the rest of their life: being a good teammate, being coachable and dealing with adversity. That’s really what a lot of coaches get into it for. Yeah, we all want to win – it’s great we win – but the impact you can have on the student’s life and career path, as well as the impact students have on us on a daily basis ... it’s memorable, educational and special all at the same time. I’m just really grateful.”
Woods, an influential advocate in the Illinois high school basketball community in favor of the use of shot clocks in varsity games, also is a key voice and supporter of the Hardy Strong Foundation. The foundation was created in honor of Justin Hardy, a 2018 St. Charles East graduate who battled stomach cancer for 13 months. The foundation honors Hardy’s legacy by raising awareness for hereditary diffuse gastric cancer and helping provide scholarships to high school athletes.