As Jim Braddish prepared for Sandwich's last game this season, he pored over five game films of his next opponent, Hampshire.
That's how he coached.
"The commitment is something I take seriously," Braddish said. "For me, basketball is a passion. If I'm going to do it, I'm all in."
Braddish knew he couldn't do it that way anymore, so it was time to hang up the whistle. He did Monday, announcing on Twitter that he was stepping down as Sandwich head coach.
Braddish spent seven seasons at Sandwich – one as freshman coach, the next four as sophomore coach and the last two as varsity head coach. Braddish, who started the travel program in Sandwich prior to joining Brennan Callahan's staff, went 32-30 in two seasons as head coach.
"It wasn't an easy thing to do; I've been around the game for a long time," said the 43-year-old Braddish, who moved to Plainfield in the last year and has worked as a Country Financial representative in Yorkville for going on 19 years. "For me to put the time into it like I have to do it was getting harder and harder to do. I had to make a decision on letting go and that was the only thing that was feasible. It's something I hate to do. I love the high school, and I love the boys. But it was the only thing that made sense."
The Indians went 21-10 in 2018-2019, Braddish's first season. Led by his son, Jimmy, Sandwich won the Interstate Eight Conference Tournament for the first time in the last season of conference's previous configuration.
The Indians graduated nine seniors from that group, then lost top returner Rex Avery to a torn ACL last summer. With junior guard Cade Miller also out to start the season with a torn meniscus, Sandwich started the season 0-9 – but got healthy, and finished 11-20. In the regional semfiinal they led in the third quarter against favored Hampshire, which eventually went on to reach the sectional final.
"We made a lot of adjustments, got guys to buy in, guys got healthy," Braddish said. "We felt last summer we would surprise people this season. Being optimistic, I felt like we could have won 17-20 games if we were healthy. By the end of the year, we were pretty tough. The Hampshire game is a great example of that."
Jimmy Braddish is finishing up his freshman year at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, although Jim Braddish said seeing his son play wasn't really a factor in his decision.
"Honestly, not a lot. It's still a three and a half hour drive," Braddish said. "It does open up some schedules."
Still very young, Braddish didn't completely rule out a return to coaching at some point.
"Who knows, years down the road, maybe things lighten up," Braddish said "It's a game I definitely love and have been around. I'm sure I'll never not miss it. At this point, got to concentrate on other things."