WICHITA, Kan.—After a successful and respected four years coaching the Circle Thunderbirds, boys basketball head coach Burt Helmer has decided to resign from coaching and teaching at Circle High School.
By the numbers, Circle’s best season came in 2010-11 when he led the Thunderbirds to an AVCTL Division IV co-championship. His team won the Division IV championship in 2009 and the next year earned a state tournament berth.
“It’s just the right time,” said Helmer. “There’s a concern for how much more I could do (for the program). I’m so grateful to the parents and kids. The kids answered the bell each and every night for four years.”
Helmer also said that health is not an issue and did not play a part in his decision.
“Right now, I have no plans of looking elsewhere,” he said. “I’m not ruling anything out, but for now I’m just relaxing, enjoying the time to mentally relax.”
He is “very proud” of what his teams were able to accomplish in his time at the helm of Circle basketball. In his time, Helmer was able to coach his teams to two division titles in one of the toughest leagues in the state.
In 2011, Circle set the AVCTL record for points allowed at 36.1 points per game. Six opponents were held under 30 points in that season. Opponents shot 31.8% against that team and set the AVCTL record for win margin at 14 points.
“He is a very passionate coach,” said Circle athletic director Matt Carroll. “He cares deeply about the program and about the kids. He did a wonderful job organizing the program. He is unmatched in his passion for coaching.”
Carroll said that moving forward, Circle will hire the best candidate and that’s difficult to estimate how many applicants there will be because the position has been posted for just two days.
Helmer said that he will most remember hearing the crowd and student sections right before taking the court on game nights.
“Having the support of the community and student sections in those games that came down to the wire was outstanding,” said Helmer.