Loeffler's Link: In surprise move to most, Buffington steps down

Helias basketball coach Josh Buffington stepped down on Thursday. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY -- Josh Buffington coaches basketball with his own, distinct passion.

His own, distinct foot-stomping passion.

"My heel has finally healed up from my last game this season," the Helias head coach said with a smile. "If I go back to stomping, it will definitely have to be with my left foot."

Stomp out loud. As much of a trademark as the Golden Arches.

"I'll tell you this, too --- I stomp because I cannot whistle," Buffington said. "The other reason I stomp is look at how many big-time games we were fortunate enough to play in, big-time games in great environments. You've got to get your players' attention, somehow."

If you notice Buffington's tense, "we were fortunate," you probably know. But this is still a surprise to most --- Buffington resigned Thursday morning as head coach of the Crusaders after a 10-year run that included 195 wins, seven district championships and three trips to the Final Four.

It's become a cliche' when a coach steps down --- they want to spend more time with their family. Usually, that's hogwash.

But in Buffington's case, it's spot on.

"I've been thinking about it for a few years," Buffington said. "What got me started thinking about it was my kids, they're getting older. (Now 10, nine and six, two boys and a girl.) I'd already made the decision that I did not want to coach them in high school and if I stayed until they got to high school, I'd be losing all that time with them.

"Whereas if I got out now, I'd be there more for my kids in youth sports. That's valuable time I don't want to miss, I don't want to look back and have those regrets."

No regrets ... which doesn't mean the decision was an easy one.

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