Lelani Gordon, the only girls basketball coach Riverview history, resigned Monday morning, she told the Times.
"I had thought about it in the past, and I'm just ready for new opportunities personally," she said. "It would be a nice change to be able to plan a Thanksgiving trip or a Christmas vacation, and enjoy my family more. As you get older, you think about all the things you're not doing."
Gordon, 52, came to Riverview from Hillsborough when the school opened in 1998. The East Bay grad, who coached at Hillsborough for 14 years, said taking the job at Riverview was like coming home. In her 31-year girls basketball coaching career, with the last 14 coming at Riverview, Gordon went 429-215. As a member of the DROP program, Gordon will continue to teach physical education and coach flag football for the next four to five years.
The Sharks (21-5) return two of the county's best players in rising seniors Faith Woodard and Tesha Hanson, both first-team all-Suncoast selections by the Times. Gordon said the returning players did make her think "good and hard" about her decision, but she felt that it was just time.
"We do have a wealth of talent, and maybe someone else can reach that pot of gold, find the rainbow, I hope they can," she said. "I would like to see Riverview in state tournament, but it just takes so much more time and energy than people realize. It's a year-round commitment. It consumes you."
Because Gordon is not leaving the school, there will not be an open teaching position for the new coach, she said. Gordon is the second Hillsborough County coach to leave her post this offseason. Tampa Catholic opted not to retain Nancy Kroll, who won back-to-back state titles in 2010 and 2011 and was not a teacher at the school.