Prep Boys Basketball

Rasmussen resigns at Illini West; replacement may be named next week

Illini West boys basketball coach Bill Rasmussen before a game on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 14, 2018 12:01 am

CARTHAGE, Ill. -- Bill Rasmussen never figured he'd be the head boys basketball coach at Illini West for four years.

In fact, he twice had plans to step down and allow a younger assistant coach to take over, only to see both coaches leave Hancock County for different jobs.

Rasmussen finally has stepped down, submitting his letter of resignation to the Illini West School Board on Tuesday. He said he had told athletic director Zak Huston before the season started that this would be his last season on the bench.

"I didn't tell the kids until after the season was over, because I didn't want them to think, ‘Well, now I don't have to listen to him because he's not going to be here,'" Rasmussen said.

Huston said the school has a physical education teaching position open and plans to tie it with the boys basketball coaching position. Four candidates have been interviewed for the job.

"We've had quite a bit of interest, and we hope to have a name pretty soon," he said. "We would love to have someone by (next Wednesday's School Board meeting)."

The Chargers finished 15-14 this season, losing to West Hancock in the regional championship game. Rasmussen guided Illini West to a winning record in each of his four seasons and has a career record of 66-50.

Rasmussen, a full-time lawyer with offices in Carthage, was an assistant for Eric Bryan from 2002-07 and for John Hughs from 2008-14 before he accepted the head coaching position.

"I didn't go to school for this," he said. "I never dreamed that I'd have the opportunity to do this. I'm a lawyer, for crying out loud. Even being an assistant was beyond my dreams. It's one thing to be in the stands, but to be around the kids and call the plays and watch Jackson Porter hit a shot to win a regional game (a 3-pointer to beat Tremont on Feb. 20), that's neat stuff."

Rasmussen admits he won't miss the time spent on the court during the summer months, but when the second week of November rolls around, he's going to miss the practices.

"I've often made the joke that the first day of practice is like Ash Wednesday, because basketball to me is a holy season," he said. "I'm not going to completely get away from the game. I love the coaching fraternity, and I'm sort of a free agent. If you need me to scout someone, give me a call. I have a feeling I'll still be around the game."