DUNLAP — Dawn Austin considered retiring from coaching after last season.
But with a strong group of soon-to-be seniors returning, Austin decided on one more year.
And what a year it was, as the Minutemen posted a 23-5 record, won the Northern Lakes Conference title, before losing to Northridge in the title game of the Class 4A Warsaw Sectional.
Now it's time to say goodbye.
"Even with the success we had this season, it was really hard to manage everything I have going in my life,'' Austin admitted. "My son graduated from college this year and my daughter has just one more year and I really want to be there for them and to be able to do what I want.''
Austin served as head coach at Concord for seven seasons, amassing a record of 132-64, including 76-22 in the NLC. During her tenure, the Minutemen won NLC Championships in 2018 and 2019 and never finished below third in the conference. The Minutemen also won sectional championships under Austin in 2014, 2015, and 2018.
Austin's final game was a tough one, as Concord lost the Class 4A Warsaw Sectional title game to Northridge, 13-0.
“We will certainly miss Dawn as a member of the coaching staff,” Concord athletic director Dave Preheim said. “She has led the program to tremendous success the past seven years. She set high standards for her players and held them accountable. The amount of hours she dedicated to our athletes through summer workouts, working around facility availability schedules in the winter, and rescheduling games due to bad weather in the spring was unbelievable.
"I'm not sure most people realize the amount of strain that can put on a coach's family and work schedules. Sometimes, as much as one tries to avoid it, the schedule conflicts become too great. She leaves tremendously big shoes to fill, and we wish her and her family the best in the future.”
Austin came to Concord after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Notre Dame for seven seasons. She also was the head coach at Goshen College for seven years, before leaving to go to Notre Dame.
So what will she remember most about her time at Concord.
"I just loved the way the kids have bought into my philosophy and worked so hard right from the start,'' Autsin said. "We've had to really good groups of seniors in my time here ... big classes ... that knew what kind of work you had to put in all year. Those classes, including our most recent seniors, knew you couldn't just show up in March and expect to have success.''
Dawn is the wife of longtime northern Indiana basketball coach Steve Austin, who stepped away from coaching the Concord varsity team in March of 2018.
"With Steve steping down last year, I considered leaving then, but ultimately I wanted to come back for those seniors and see them off,'' Dawn Austin said. "Now it's time for Steven and I to take some time for ourselves and our family. Plus, there is a good group of young players coming up through the system, so I feel I'm leaving the program in good shape.''