Sleeman steps away from MAU basketball

BENNINGTON — Long-time Mount Anthony boys basketball coach Dan Sleeman made the decision to retire from coaching after 16 years.

Citing personal reasons, Sleeman wanted to step away to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Jana, have two children, 9-year-old Alexander and 6-year-old Danni.

"As my kids get older, I want to be there for them," Sleeman said on Wednesday night. "It's a hard decision to make. Every coach with a family has had to deal with this decision."

Sleeman said the job of high school varsity coach had become a year-round endeavor.

"The time commitment is truly 12 months and it's getting more difficult to keep up the pace," Sleeman said.

He thought about just coaching, not doing a lot of the outside-of-season things, but decided that wasn't right either.

"It's not the way I do things," Sleeman said. "It might have worked, but I would have been miserable."

Sleeman thanked his past and present players for their loyalty and support and also athletic director Tim Brown for his support.

"I talked to Jordyn [Burke] and Madison [Little] before they went to [college]," Sleeman said. "They both understood it, they babysit my kids. They knew I was undecided. I took the entire summer off away from basketball."

Sleeman said his wife and family were also very supportive of his decision.

"[Jana] is a former coach and player at Mount Anthony, she totally understands it," Sleeman said. "She'd support it either way, but it makes things at home a little easier."

One of only five coaches the school has ever had for boys basketball, Sleeman has been around the program, quite literally, for his entire adult life. He played three years for legendary coach Dave Frederickson, graduating in 1990 after winning three state championships. Sleeman then played his college ball at Lyndon State, getting his degree in secondary education in 1994. That year, he returned to Bennington and worked for the next three seasons as Frederickson's assistant. Then he was an assistant for Jay Crosier, a former teammate, for two seasons before Sleeman himself took the varsity job at the beginning of the 2001 season.

"Dan has been the face of Mount Anthony basketball for a long time, and he can retire knowing he had the most successful career of any MAU graduate to both play and coach Patriots basketball. His devotion, dedication and work ethic will be hard to replace," Brown said.     

In his 15 years leading the boys, Sleeman went 213-119 and reached the Division I Final Four seven times, including four straight trips from 2007-2011.

Last season, he switched from the boys team and coached the Lady Patriots and had similar success, leading them to an 18-5 season and a trip to the Final Four again. Overall, Sleeman won 65 percent of the games he coached.

"I thought I would be at it longer, but you have to look at everything and every year is different," Sleeman said. "It was a fine line between making this decision now. I talked to Tim about it in the middle of summer."

Sleeman will remain full-time as a driver education teacher in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.

"I'll still see the kids everyday, but just not in the gym," Sleeman said. "It'll be a tough adjustment, but I'll take each day as it comes."


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