Former three-time WIAA state champion Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Showalter said 'he had options' after he left Lindenwood University (Missouri) this spring after one season as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team.
And Showalter exercised one of those options this week, when he accepted the position of boys basketball coach and learning commons supervisor at Waukesha Catholic Memorial. It will be a salaried full-time position with benefits, something that Showalter said he was looking for when he headed back north for Wisconsin after leaving Lindenwood.
'They had a need for both,' he said of the twin aspects of the job. 'They thought I fit the bill for both. I'm excited to be part of the CMH community and positively influence the kids on a daily basis. I think this is really good for me and very positive for the kids as well.'
Showalter will be taking over for Dean Bellanti, who left after eight seasons, including a 10-14 season this past year and a WIAA D2 state title in 2010.
Showalter spent 15 years at Germantown, transforming a former basketball backwater into an empire, turning in a record of 286-81 including WIAA D1 state titles in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In his last year of 2014-15, Germantown went 27-1, losing only to Stevens Point in the state finals.
Shortly after that, he took the assistant's job at Lindenwood, an NCAA DII coached by his old friend, Lance Randall. The situation didn't work out as well as Showalter would have liked, and he left the post by mutual agreement in March.
He indicated that he wanted to come back home to Wisconsin if he could land a full time job. Rumors started circulating whether he would come back to Germantown, take a small college coaching job or even go after a higher-level collegiate position.
Showalter, who also left the Germantown Police Department after more than 20 years on the force when he headed to Lindenwood, indicated that with both his sons in college (Zak, who is starting for the Wisconsin basketball team and Jake, who is still down at Lindenwood), a job with benefits was the first priority.
Other area high schools got in touch with him, with Memorial being among the first. He formally met with CMH officials early last week after they had contacted him. They offered him the combination position, which includes study hall monitoring and other functions along with the coaching. He told them he wanted a few days to think about it and then he accepted.
He met with the players for the first time on Monday, May 2 and was encouraged by what he saw.
'They seemed like a wonderful group of kids,' he said. 'And this is a good place to start. There are no 7-footers out there (referring to former Germantown all-state and now Marquette University center Luke Fischer), but they have a great tradition of athletic excellence at CMH. We won't be starting from scratch here. They understand what it means to have a work ethic and they understand respect and doing the best you can all the time.
'That's where we start and that's where we'll try to build from.'
The learning commons position does not start until the beginning of the new school year in early August. In the meantime, he will start interviewing existing basketball staff and talk to some others he might bring in. The learning commons position will put him in daily contact with the students, something he did not have at Germantown and it is something he is looking forward to.
As far as the formal basketball work goes, he's ready to hit the ground running.
'The basketball position is a circle,' he said. 'It never stops, it never really starts, it just keeps going. We've got work to do, putting together a summer league schedule and other basics. Those things are important to building a program.'
As he likes to remind people, he didn't hit the ground in Germantown and start to win conference and state titles immediately. He knows he's stepping into a powerhouse league in the Classic 8, whose champion this past year, Muskego, made it all the way to the WIAA State D1 finals before losing to Stevens Point.
It may take a little time to get the Crusaders back to those halcyon days of 2010.
'It's been a tumultuous last few weeks, but I'm ready to go,' he said. 'I was hoping for a full-time position with benefits and I got almost exactly what I was hoping for.
'I'm coming here hoping to contribute on a daily basis and have a very positive effect on the school and the kids.'