SPRINGFIELD -- For the last 16 years, Doug Piquette has been the man behind the Thurston High boys basketball team.
That changed Friday when the longtime coach officially resigned, Thurston athletic director Justin Starck confirmed.
Piquette was one of the longest-tenured coaches in Lane County.
He steps down two weeks after Thurston ended its season with a 15-11 record, capped by an emotional 59-55 loss to South Salem in the second round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs.
"I just think it's a good time for me," Piquette said. "There's some things you have to deal with as a head coach that I don't want to deal with anymore. ... It's not one thing, it's a combination of things."
Piquette began his Thurston career as the girls varsity soccer coach and boys basketball assistant in 1997. He took over the head coaching job when Kevin Durfee resigned in 1998 -- while still coaching girls soccer in the fall -- and spent the next 15 years at the head of the Thurston program.
"To lose someone of Doug's stature and ability and just the things that he does for kids in our basketball program and in the school -- it's just a huge loss," Starck said.
"He is Thurston basketball, and he's made sure that we put a competitive team out there at all times. He does things right on and off the court."
Piquette coached the Drew Wiley-led Colts to a third-place finish at the 5A state tournament in 2008.
Thurston reached the second round of the playoffs in two of its four seasons since moving up to Class 6A.
In October 2013, Piquette was inducted in the Springfield High School hall of fame after a standout prep career in soccer, basketball and track for the Millers. He played in the 10-team 5AAA basketball league in the late 1980s, at the same time that current Springfield girls coach Bill Wagner was a standout at North Eugene.
Starck said he planned to post the job opening by the end of the day Friday, adding that Piquette will continue teaching physical education at the high school.
"It's a big loss for us," Starck said. "Fortunately, he's left the cupboard full and there's a tremendous amount of support from him and in the community for the next person, and he's still working diligently to get things ready for the next person."
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