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Hopkins resigns as Darlington coach
DARLINGTON - Mike Hopkins, who served as the Darlington High School boys basketball coach in two stints for a total of 19 years, resigned as coach effective Monday.

Hopkins stepped down from his coaching post citing health concerns. He also coached the Darlington girls basketball team for eight years, from 1992-99.

Hopkins, 60, will remain a social studies teacher at Darlington High School and also the student council advisor and a National Honors Society advisor.

"It (coaching basketball) was taking a toll on my health," Hopkins said.

Hopkins was informed he has an irregular heart beat.

"It (coaching) wasn't the cause of any of my health problems, but I wasn't getting the rest I needed," he said. "My heart said to coach another year, but my body and head wanted to rest and cut back on my schedule. Basketball takes up so much time, and I want to teach one to three more years."

Hopkins compiled a career coaching mark of 361-247, boys and girls combined.

He guided the Redbirds boys to a 20-6 record last season and a WIAA Division 4 sectional championship game where the Redbirds lost to La Crosse Aquinas 50-49.

Darlington returns all five starters from a team that has been ranked in the top 10 in the state the past two years.

"Since we have all five starters coming back and our top eight players, I could have been selfish and coached another year," Hopkins said. "Everything I do I put in 100 percent. Coaching was taking a toll on me. I thought it would be selfish of me to try and coach one more year. I didn't want to cheat my students in the classroom and the other organizations."

The Darlington School Board will discuss Hopkins' coaching resignation request at a board meeting on Wednesday. The board is expected to vote on the resignation and open a search for a new coach.