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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

St. Mary Central Zephyrs part ways with girls' basketball coach Jeff Chew

St. Mary Central High School has decided to part ways with arguably its most successful coach the past 17 seasons.
The school announced on Tuesday that Jeff Chew, the head girls' basketball coach, will no longer be the head coach at SMC.
"I want to acknowledge coach Chew's service to St. Mary Central High School," SMC athletic director Mike Heideman said in a press release. "Jeff served as varsity girls' basketball coach for nearly two decades and is an important figure in SMC's rich basketball history. He has accomplished much during his time at SMC and we want to acknowledge and thank him for his dedication to the Zephyr program."
The decision by SMC to part ways surprised Chew.
"I went in for my yearly evaluation and they just decided that they were going in a different direction," Chew said. "I said 'Uh, OK' and got up and left. So it was a total surprise to me."
Chew, 56, compiled a 293-117 record over 17 seasons, including a WIAA Division 4 state championship in 2009 and a runner-up finish in 2008. His teams secured numerous conference titles and the Zephyrs program is viewed as one of the top small-school programs in the state.
The Zephyrs also won a WISAA state title but have experienced some tough times the past two seasons. SMC finished 4-19 in 2009-10 after losing the bulk of its state championship players to graduation. This past season, the Zephyrs were 7-19 and struggled through a trying Olympian Conference season, only to catch fire in the playoffs. St. Mary Central reached the sectional finals before losing to eventual Division 5 state champion Wausau Newman.
St. Mary Central averaged 19 wins a season during the first 15 years under Chew.
According to Chew, his coaching staff will also not return next season. That group of assistants is a big reason why the program was so successful, he said.
"They've been outstanding and I appreciate their dedication throughout the years," Chew said. "Two of them have been with me since we started 17 years ago. We haven't had a lot of turnover of coaches. Once people get in our program, they've done a good job and stayed. I really appreciate that."

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