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May 12, 2014

Koutoufas Steps Down at Menchville

One of the most respected High School Basketball coaches in Virginia has decided to step aside. Dennis Koutoufas, a man that has coached 29 seasons at three different schools in the Peninsula District, turned in his resignation at Menchville High School in Newport News.

Koutoufas went 65-35 in four seasons at Menchville to bring his career coaching record to 438-255. Only Jack Baker of Maury (695 wins) and Hampton's Walter Brower (571 wins) had more wins among active coaches in the Tidewater area. With the Monarchs, he won three conference/district tournament crowns in four years, never doing so with the #1 seed.

"The last four years were pretty good. Working with Greg Henderson (AD), Bobby Surry (Principal) and the people at Menchville was fabulous. And I got to know a bunch of good kids. Those were all pluses," Koutoufas told VirginiaPreps.com.

"At the present time, the demands are too strong for me with what I have going on in my life with my family."

Koutoufas, 63, is the grandfather of triplets. His daughter and grandchildren reside in South Carolina, making it challenging to see them during the holidays when the basketball season is in full swing.

"The responsibilities of coaching now are yearlong," Koutoufas explained. "I want to spend a month in the summer in South Carolina. Even if I have someone else do it and I'm coaching, I'm not comfortable with it completely because I feel like I'm supposed to be there."

In a combined 25 years at Denbigh and Heritage - - 12 with the Patriots first and 13 then with the Hurricanes - - Koutoufas went 373-220. He won six Peninsula District Tournament titles during his career and made the State Tournament four times.

Winning quickly became the norm for Koutoufas at Denbigh, where he was 178-108 with three straight Peninsula District regular season titles from 1986-88. His tenure there was highlighted by making the State Tournament semifinals in 1987, eventually falling to Robinson by a count of 55-28.

At Heritage, Koutoufas guided the Hurricanes to the Group AAA State Tournament on three occasions. That included the school's first ever Eastern Region Tournament appearance in 1999-2000, followed by a stunning upset of previously 23-0 Salem on their way to making a trip to the State Playoffs.

Working his magic yet again at Menchville would be no easy task given that he inherited a program that went 26-43 over the three seasons prior to his arrival. But the outgoing senior class experienced only one losing season and made regionals three times, going 18-7 this past season with Green Run knocking them out, 50-43 in the 5A-South Region Tournament quarterfinals.

How does Koutoufas reflect back on one of the more success basketball coaching career that Hampton Roads has seen the past quarter-century? With the grace and class that made him looked up to by so many of his peers.

"When I got started, if you told me that I would've had four wins I would've been happy. I ended up with over 400," said Koutoufas. "I've never been one with gargantuan expectations, but we've done well. I think I've averaged over 15 wins per year, and more than anything, have been able to do something I enjoy. Being able to associate with some of the people I've gotten to be around over the years in basketball has made it real fun."

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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