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Elba girls basketball coach Tom Nowak is retiring.

For 26 years, Nowak built Lancers girls basketball into a small school powerhouse, proving that a small, rural school district can develop talent and maintain competitive success.

Nowak said he retired from teaching four years ago and that this was the right time.

“You know you get to the point where you have to decide sooner or later when that moment is going to be," Nowak said. "I decided that this would be a good time for someone new to come in and step in and take over the program.”

Nowak says he and his wife are going to work on their bucket lists and travel to places they've always wanted to see in the winter.

“My wife has been a gem over the years," he said. "We got married in 1977 in August. I came back from our honeymoon (and) the next day I started coaching and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve missed a lot of things over the years.”

Nowak finishes his tremendous career with a 457-133 record with 13 league titles, eight sectional titles, two regional titles and a state championship for the 2011-2012 season.

Nowak says there has been no varsity head coach replacement set at this time, but the school is working hard and will not make a hasty decision.

Nowak says he went to Florida recently and has had time to reflect on the program he’s built.

“Well, you always think about your program. I take a lot of pride. For me, it stands for hard work, discipline, respect, teamwork, supporting your fellow members on the team. I think that these are all life values that a player can take with them after they graduate, so we try to always emphasize those things, and along the way we’ve been pretty successful and won quite a few ballgames.”

Batavia’s Bill Wade, another seminal figure in the development and growth of Genesee County girls basketball announced his retirement in March.

(Pictured - Nowak in 2010 via our news partner, The Batavian)

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