Stu Vetter, the only coach to guide four different teams into the top 10 of the USA TODAY Super 25 boys basketball rankings, has resigned at Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.).
Seventeen of Vetter’s former players played in the NBA or for Division I colleges this past season, including four-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, who tweeted, “Tough to see my high school coach, Stu Vetter, resign. Great teacher of the game, a no nonsense guy and a great motivator! Great career SV!”
Vetter, 61, coached at Montrose Christian for 14 seasons, finishing 321-47. His overall record in 36 seasons as a head coach is 878-113. In 1986, he led Flint Hill (Oakton, Va.) to the top spot in the season-ending Super 25 rankings and was named All-USA Coach of the Year. He won the honor again in 1998 after leading St. John’s-Prospect Hall (Frederick, Md.) to the top spot in the rankings. He also coached at Harker Prep (Potomac, Md.) from 1990 to 1992.
“I want to pursue other opportunities, in coaching and in business,” Vetter said. “I am not retiring. It has been a great 14 years at Montrose and a great 37 years overall. Many of the things we’ve done, playing on national television, taking trips to Hawaii, are things high school coaches only dream about.”
Montrose assistant Dan Prete and Don Shopland recently left Montrose to be the head coach and assistant coach, respectively, at St. James (Hagerstown, Md.). Shopland said he knew Vetter’s move was coming.
“It’s been something he has been considering for some time now,” Shopland said. “He felt like it was the right time.”
Vetter has been at the forefront of the trend of national high school basketball powerhouses. He won the first nationally televised game while coaching Flint Hill to a defeat of Pine Bluff, Ark., on Dec. 8, 1987 on ESPN. He was also the first high school coach to have two McDonald’s All-Americans the same season (Aaron Bain and George Lynch in 1989).
“It’s interesting now because there are so many national high school programs,” Vetter said. “When I first started, Oak Hill was just getting started. I was fortunate to come along when USA Today did and there was a rise in interest in national high school basketball. My teams were ranked for 30 years. To me, that consistency is one of the things I am most proud of.”
Vetter has remained close to several of his former players. Mike Pepper played on Vetter’s first team at Flint Hill before playing for Dean Smith at North Carolina. Now a commercial real estate broker in Northern Virginia, Pepper moved with his son Dane to a condominium in Rockville so his son could play basketball at Montrose. Dane Pepper is planning to play next season at Division III St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City.
“Based on my experience and relationship with coach, I knew in my heart, it would be in my son, Dane’s, best interest,” Pepper said. “I’ve seen it over and over again how he’s developed young men. I just knew it would be the opportunity to be part of the Montrose and Coach Vetter experience. His two years there were nothing short of what I would hope for.”
When Vetter was inducted into the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012, 30 of his former players showed up for the event, including George Washington assistant Kevin Sutton, who played for Vetter at Flint Hill and was as assistant for Vetter at Flint Hill, Harker Prep and St. John’s-Prospect Hall.
“I am very happy for him,” Sutton said. “He’s been looking at taking some time and weighing his options. Any person or school would be fortunate to have him as a coach. He’s excited about what he could be doing in his next step.”
Vetter said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his former players.
“I want to have some time to see a lot of the young men I’ve coached,” Vetter said. “I’ve gotten to Kevin Durant play, but not in Oklahoma City. I especially want to see a lot of the players who are now college coaches (including Sutton, Seattle coach Cam Dollar, Duke assistants Jeff Capel and Nate James, Wake Forest assistant Randolph Childress, Maryland assistant David Adkins and St. Johns assistant Rico Hines). Those are the things I want to do to enjoy myself, that when you’re coaching, you don’t always have the time.”