BELOIT - After 12 seasons guiding the Beloit College men's basketball program, Brian Vraney decided to make a dramatic change in his life.
He's leaving coaching in order to concentrate on his family. His last day as head coach of the Buccaneers is today.
"My wife and I have a 6-year-old daughter and I really want to take a step away from coaching and spend more time with them," Vraney said Thursday. "Being a coach is a terrific time commitment. So we're going to stay where we are in the area, but I'm taking a sales position."
Vraney's 2018-19 team finished 8-17 overall and 6-12 in the Midwest Conference.
"I met with the players the other night to let them know of my decision," he said. "Those conversations are always difficult. One thing that always stuck out about the guys I coached here was that they were solid leaders with great character. I can look back at my time here and we didn't have some of the problems other coaches deal with."
That's the sort of player Vraney was in college. A four-year letterwinner and 1998 graduate of the University of Wisconsin he was a hard-working role player off the bench as well as Academic All-Big Ten. He won the team's Red Team Award three times for his work ethic.
Vraney spent seven seasons as an assistant coach in the MWC, five at RIpon and the final two at Lake Forest. When Cecil Youngblood resigned as head coach at Beloit after going 72-135 in 10 seasons, Vraney was named his successor prior to the 2007-08 season.
"When you're an assistant coach you always dream of having the opportunity to be a head coach somewhere," Vraney said. "It was huge that I was offered that opportunity here. I will be forever grateful for that,"
During his tenure, several individual players earned accolades. He coached 15 All-MWC players and five 1,000-point scorers (Steve McAfee, James Lazarcik, David Bremner, Andy Horton, Tristan Shoup).
The Bucs never reached the level as a team Vraney had hoped for. His overall record was 94-187 and just one of his teams posted a winning record - 12-10 in 2012-13 when they went 10-8 in league play. They never won a championship.
"That was one goal I had when I came here and we fell short of that," he said. "At the end of the day, I feel we put up a good fight. We graduated solid players and made great relationships along the way. We had guys put their names in the record books in a variety of ways. We had guys who were academic all-conference. Their hard work didn't always translate to wins, but there is a lot for many of them to be proud of."
Vraney said the program is in good shape for his successor.
"We lose five seniors to graduation, but there is a solid core of returning players," he said. "We have some recruits committed to the program. I'm confident they'll find a good coach here and continue to strive to win a conference championship."
Athletic Director TIm Schmiechen released a statement thanking Vraney for his service to the college.
"His hard work and commitment to Beloit College has allowed him to build a successful program and make an enormous impact on the lives of his players," Schmiechen stated. "For 12 years, Brian has been a first-class coach and person and we all wish him the best."
• NOTES: The Bucs have reached the MWC Tournament just once since Bill Knapton secured his 10th title in 1994-95. Youngblood's 2000-01 team qualified for the tourney, but lost in the semifinals to Grinnell.