NORMAN — When Jeff Blough came to Norman North, the basketball coach faced a rebuilding project, one he attacked with passion. Blough stepped down from his position on Tuesday, and he leaves a program that’s come a long way since then.
The coach took the T-Wolves to the state tournament each of the past two seasons and earned the right to host a regional three of the past four years. He was named the Big-school West All-State coach this week and will see off senior Bri Kuestersteffen by coaching her one last game in the All-State contest.
Blough said he made the decision in order to spend more time with his family. With two children under the age of 5 at home, Blough said he wanted an opportunity to spend more time at home.
Two events helped Blough make up his mind. The first was North’s appearance at the Tournament of Champions in December, an honor for the program but one that required Blough to leave his family on Christmas. Combined with a recent, dangerous medical scare to his youngest daughter, Blough said it was a good time to step back.
“It really just puts everything in perspective,” said Blough, who hopes to use the free time to complete his master’s degree. “I won’t say I’ll never get back into coaching, but right now I’m just planning on teaching and being with my family.”
Blough leaves behind a squad that has been among the elite in the state over the past few seasons, and one that be loaded again next season. Led by the returning Haley Woodard, North returns four starters and, with a freshman squad that dominated all season, figures to continue to improve.
“Being named the All-State coach and getting to coach Bri one more time, that’s rewarding to receive that honor and coach her one more time,” he said. “The program is in great shape. It’s a good way for me to go out.”
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