Jutras Steps Down as Girls Coach at Sarasota High
Rob Jutras had every intention on returning as girls basketball coach at Sarasota High for one more season.
Meeting with some long-time friends this past weekend, Jutras began to think and reconsider.
“I realized when you’re a coach, a lot of your time is not really your own,” he said. “Given what’s happened over the last several years, I started thinking that I would like to pursue some other interests.”
During those years, he not only lost his son Kyle at the all-too-young age of 24, but also his father and several other relatives.
“Many people who were close to me,” he said. “This weekend just got me thinking tomorrow is not guaranteed. I just needed to step down and give someone else a chance.”
Jutras took over in 2010 after Joe Whelton accepted the position, but never coached a game at Sarasota. Whelton went on to coach the Venice High girls.
A former Sarasota Middle School coach and coach of the Sarasota Sting travel team, Jutras landed the position.
The Sailors went to the regional tournament six straight seasons from 2010-15, reaching the Class 7A Final 4 in 2014, losing to Harmony in a state semifinal. It was only the third time in program history Sarasota advanced to the Final 4.
This past season, Sarasota lost in the district semifinals to Palmetto, 44-27.
During his tenure, Jutras went 157-42, including 65-3 against Sarasota County schools with the three losses by a total of seven points and 6-0 in games that went to overtime.
“I was blessed to have a lot of great kids come through there and understood what it meant to compete,” he said. “I was really lucky to work with those types of kids. Very fortunate. You can’t do what we were able to do as a team without having a great group of girls.”
Jutras held a meeting with the girls Tuesday.
“I wanted to thank them for their efforts for the last several years,” he said.
He also had nothing except praise for Principal Jeff Hradek and Director of Athletics Mark Ashenbrenner.
“Those two guys have been so supportive of me and my family over the last seven years, and I really have a lot to thank them for. The Sailor family has been really good to me. I’m going to really miss going to the gym each day and working with the kids. But I really do believe that in the long run it’s probably what’s best for everyone.”
Jutras has set up a scholarship fund set up in Kyle’s name and has staged a number of events, including a boys preseason classic and Sarasota/Manatee All-Star games in Kyle’s honor, which awarding college scholarships to area players.
“With the foundation, I’m still going to be involved in the area in basketball,” he said. “Hopefully, I can still continue to impact young people through the Kyle Jutras Scholarship Foundation.”
The Sailors return one of the top players in the area in center Madison Pack, a HTPreps first-team selection.
“It’s hard to walk away,” said Jutras, who plans to travel and have some “me” time.