Following back to back WIAA Division 1 State Championship wins, Appleton North head girls basketball coach Joe Russom is stepping down.
“I am just putting all my emphasis toward Menasha where I teach,” Russom said of the decision. “I am simplifying my life, and trying to grow professionally. I want to help Menasha be successful in all areas. I want to call one place home for all aspects of my professional life.”
In 10 seasons as head coach of the Lightning, Russom accumulated a 180-70 record.
In 2008 Appleton North went 7-14, but Russom’s teams never finished below .500 again after that first year.
That included a 28-0 perfect season capped off by the program’s first state title win in 2016-2017, and a repeat championship back in March.
Kari Brekke, a senior point guard for the Appleton North posted this on Twitter Wednesday: “Thank you for everything Joe! I couldn’t have asked for a better coach these last four years. You have forever changed the Appleton North GBB program and will be missed!”
While Russom didn’t rule out potentially coaching a lower level girls basketball team or helping out at the high school, he’s happy getting to pursue other interests right now.
“Right now I just want to ride my Harley to Sturgis, go scuba diving more often, and relax,” Russom said. “With coaching it is hard to do the things we love sometimes, and I am looking forward to those opportunities. I am open to coaching again, but not seeking it. Right now, I am just focused spending more time with my family.”
Appleton North Activities Director Nate Werner sent the following statement to Local 5 today is regards to Russom’s resignation.
“We are very grateful for the ten seasons Coach Russom spent at Appleton North and are appreciative of the time, dedication & talent that he has provided for our girls basketball program over the years. We are happy for Coach Russom as he continues his journey of serving young people in both his continued teaching role and new role with the Activities Department in Menasha . He is truly a coach who understands the value of co-curricular sports in the education of youth in our area.”