NORWALK — When Ken Dustin arrived at Brien McMahon High School as a teacher, he quickly jumped into the coaching fray.
Nearly one decade later, Dustin has decided to step aside from his latest post as family obligations have made leading a varsity program impossible at this time of his life.
As such, Dustin, who led the Senators boys varsity basketball program for the past five seasons, has resigned his position.
“My daughter is going into kindergarten and I have a 2-year-old and that complicates things,” Dustin said. “My wife did a fantastic job this year holding down the fort.”
Dustin took over the program from Mo Tomin following the 2011-12 season.
After going 5-15 his first season, Dustin took the Senators to the second round of the Class LL state tournament, finishing 13-9.
The next year was a rebuilding year, but McMahon has made two straight state tournaments, advancing to the second round in 2016.
Last season, the Senators qualified for the FCIAC playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Dustin’s record at McMahon was 49-57, but the Senators had winning seasons in three of his five years.
“He did very well. He’s come in and in five years has really established the basketball program at McMahon back to where it needs to be,” athletic director Joe Madaffari said. “I’m hoping whoever succeeds him will continue that.”
Madaffari said the search for a new coach has already started.
Dustin — who was a varsity soccer coach at McMahon for four seasons — isn’t leaving coaching for good.
“I’m not done coaching yet,” he said. “I’ve coached since 2005. It’s just the right decision to make right now.”
Despite the Senators losing four starters from last year’s team, which had a 14-6 regular season before losing in the FCIAC quarterfinals and first round of the Class LL tournament, Dustin is leaving the program deep and in good shape.
“Building the program to where I wanted it to be was a job and a dream of mine,” said Dustin, adding that both the freshman and JV teams were successful last season. “The cupboard’s not bare. I think the next guy coming in has a good foundation.”
Tom Keyes, the boys basketball coach at cross-city rival Norwalk, said he will miss coaching against Dustin.
“Ken did a great job revitalizing the McMahon boys basketball program,” Keyes said. “His teams always played with heart and intensity, and there is no denying that was a direct reflection of their head coach. Over the years we had some great games as counterparts but have also managed to become good friends. I wish him the best.”
Dustin, a native of Windsor Locks, will remain at McMahon as a physical education teacher.
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