Derek Archer has thrived for eight years as the leader of the Lewis Central girls basketball program.
But he’s putting coaching on hold – at least in the immediate future – so that he can focus on his most important roles of husband and father.
Archer, 38, is stepping down as the Titans’ coach as he and his wife Bonnie prepare for the birth of their fourth child in early June. When the baby arrives, that will give the Archers four kids under the age of 6, including a 5-year-old and 2-year-old twins.
No replacement for Archer has yet been determined.
Given the year-round demands that come with coaching, Archer said the decision to step aside made sense. He wanted to spend more time with his family.
“It’s not just the games,” Archer said. “When we have late practices, there were times in the last two years where I would get home about 7 or 7:15 p.m. and see the twins and my oldest son for about a half hour or 15 minutes, then they were in bed, and that would be all I’d see of them for the day.
“Those were weeks at a time where I’d be doing that. My wife, on the other hand, was having to take care of everything and basically be a single parent for the most part.”
In addition to Archer, assistant coach Chris DeMarque is also stepping down to focus on his job. DeMarque has had an eight-year run on Archer’s bench.
To say Archer’s eight years were productive would be an understatement. Since taking over in 2012, he compiled a 156-31 record (.834 winning percentage) with five state tournament appearances, including the school’s first state championship game appearance in program history in March, and five 20-win seasons.
“We’ve had a lot of talent,” Archer said. “It came down to whether or not we could put that talent in the right places for them to be successful. It’s the hard work of the girls over the years every year. They have goals set for themselves, and the one thing we’ve always had every single year are girls with high expectations of themselves and for our team. And they work nonstop to accomplish those things.”
Although L.C. must find a way to replace six seniors from last year’s 21-6 team that made the Class 4-A state finals, Archer feels the program is still in good shape. The Titans’ junior varsity team finished the 2019-20 season 18-2 and the reserve team was a perfect 12-0.
And at some point down the road when his kids are older, Archer said he expects to coach again.
“That fire for me is definitely not out by any means,” he said. “I feel like I will be back in some capacity someday. It’s just I’ve got to take care of things at home until the kids can get a little older and self-sufficient.”