Thursday night approved the resignations of two high school varsity head coaches.
Columbia High School boys soccer head coach Jason Mathenia departs after compiling a record of 150-22-16 since 2013. His 2014 squad won a state title. The Eagles finished 10-1 this season, including last Wednesday’s season-ending 2-1 victory over Granite City.
Mathenia, who teaches at Belleville West and is the girls soccer head coach there, confirmed that was his final game as CHS boys soccer head coach but declined further comment.
“We are extremely grateful for Jason’s commitment to Columbia Eagles boys soccer over the past eight years,” CHS Athletic Director Scott Horner said. “He took our program to the next level and was a pleasure to work beside. Jason’s decision was very tough, but he felt it was time to turn his focus more to his family and his children as they are extremely active in sports at the college and high school level. Jason left the program in better shape than when he started. He will be missed, but we wish him the best.”
CHS boys basketball head coach Brooks Demijan leaves his position after only two seasons. He compiled an overall record of 23-22 with the Eagles.
“Although this is a very tough decision and was not what I expected at the beginning of the year, I am taking time away from basketball to spend time with loved ones,” Demijan told the Republic-Times. “I hope to rebalance my life so that I am able to return to my passion of coaching and helping student-athletes pursue their dreams. There is nothing more I want in coaching than to see the young men succeed not only on the court, but in life as well. I hope to continue to stay connected to basketball and help in any role where I may be needed.”
Demijan classified his stepping down as a temporary situation in terms of his coaching future.
“Much like COVID paused everything this past year, we eventually knew sports would resume at some point. That is kind of the same situation I am in now,” Demijan said. “I am looking at this as a pause in my coaching career and look forward to the time I am able to get back into it. Only God knows when that is. The thing I will miss the most is the relationships with all the players and the practices. I will miss the early morning workouts, late Sunday night workouts and staying two hours after practices with players to get extra work in. Quite frankly, I will miss the grind that basketball is year round, not just in the winter months.”
Demijan said he has fond memories of his two years as head coach.
“There are things we did well and things we need to improve on, but I am grateful for the opportunities I had,” he said. “I can’t thank the players enough for all the commitment they have shown the past two years and doing so much for the program. I wish nothing but the best for the returning players and will be their biggest fan as they continue on in their academic and athletic paths.”
Horner said he appreciates Demijan’s commitment to the hoops program in recent years.
“Basketball is an extremely long season and it takes a lot of time away from family,” Horner said. “Brooks has made the decision to spend more time with his family as he and his wife just recently had a baby.”