George Contente has been part of the prep basketball landscape for slightly over two decades.
Of that, the past 11 years were with the Ripon High girls program.
His resignation – along with teacher Kate Ballatore – was accepted at Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting.
“I want to give you time to hire a new head coach for girls basketball in order for the program to continue to succeed,” Contente said in his Feb. 29 letter to the RHS Athletic Department.
In his final campaign, Contente’s team captured the Trans-Valley League title – his third, for the record – by going 12-0 in league, 19-8 overall, but fell in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs to Venture Academy.
Contente noted the timeliness of a new hire is important given the upcoming summer camps and summer league schedules. “I’m sure a new coach would prefer to schedule some of the preseason non-league games,” he added.
He also cherished his time at RHS.
“I will always have a special place in my heart for Ripon High,” Contente said. “I have put a lot of time and consideration into leaving this position after 21 years of coaching girls high school basketball that I have decided it’s time for me to retire.”
Ballatore, meanwhile, announced that this year would be her last at RUSD, believing now is the time to branch out and pursue some of her long-term professional goals.
“I have truly enjoyed my experience at Park View Elementary School and Colony Oak Elementary School – with that said, I feel it is time to move forward with another school district,” she said.
The board, in addition, accepted the retirements of Park View teacher Lois Jones and Colony Oak teacher Teri Beam.
Jones was recognized by the Ripon Lions Club for her 20 years of service while Beam also served as the athletic director at Colony Oak.