Prep Basketball

Nate Sanderson resigns as Linn-Mar girls' basketball coach

4-9 season has been 'really stressful,' Chad Tompkins will take over on interim basis

Linn-Mar girls' basketball coach Nate Sanderson watches during a game earlier this season. Sanderson resigned Thursday,
Linn-Mar girls’ basketball coach Nate Sanderson watches during a game earlier this season. Sanderson resigned Thursday, in the middle of his third season. A state-championship coach at Springville in 2016 and 2017, Sanderson was 18-39 at Linn-Mar. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MARION — Stress is a byproduct of coaching, and Nate Sanderson said, “I don’t do a good job leaving stress in the gym.”

As a result, Sanderson resigned as head girls’ basketball coach at Linn-Mar High School on Thursday, effective immediately.

“Two factors, really,” Sanderson said. “It’s been a really stressful season, and that had an impact on me personally.

“At home, we had a stretch in December in which I didn’t see my family much. It was a Saturday, and my 2-year-old daughter said, ‘I found Dad, I finally found Dad.’”

Linn-Mar is 4-9 this season, with eight regular-season games remaining, starting with a home contest Friday against Waterloo West.

Associate athletics director Tonya Moe said that Chad Tompkins will be appointed the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Tompkins has been an assistant for the Linn-Mar boys’ staff this season, and previously worked as an assistant in the girls’ program at Linn-Mar since 2015.

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“We appreciate all of the time and commitment Coach Sanderson has put into the Linn-Mar girls’ basketball program over the past three seasons,” Moe said in a release. “We wish him the best as he continues following his passions inside the game of basketball.”

Sanderson, 42, came to Linn-Mar after leading Springville to Class 1A state championships in 2016 and 2017. His first Linn-Mar team went 3-19, then the Lions improved to 11-11 last season.

“We had a really good finish last year, and we brought back a lot of players this year. Expectations were that we were going to take another step forward,” Sanderson said. “Ultimately, I just wasn’t an effective leader for this team this year.”

The Lions have shot just 35 percent from the field this season and have averaged only 45 points per game.

Linn-Mar beat Iowa City Liberty, 58-51, Tuesday in what turned out to be Sanderson’s final game.

His career record is 199-195 in 18 seasons.

Springville won another 1A state title in 2018, after Sanderson departed. He has no regrets for the move to Linn-Mar.

“I learned so much in this experience,” he said. “I value that a lot. I’m really grateful for the opportunity Linn-Mar gave me and the faith that Tonya had in me.

“I’m excited about coaching my own kids someday, and I have a lot of friends in coaching ... I don’t think I’m done coaching, and I don’t consider this retirement.”

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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