Noble steps down as Ellwood City girls coach

Mar. 16—The Ellwood City Lincoln High girls basketball team will need a new leader for the upcoming season.

Last week, head coach Dena Noble sent her resignation letter and the school board unanimously voted to accept it on Thursday. Family was the main factor in Noble's resignation.

"My son is special needs. He has autism and I really missed out on my family," Noble said. "My mom, my sister and my husband were helping me with his therapies. I should be doing that. That's my job as his mom, being there to help support him and my husband with his therapy.

"Not a lot of people know that my job is 365 days a year. It's coaching, it's the offseason and during the season it's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It takes me mentally and physically away from my family."

Noble's daughter, Claire Noble, also will be graduating from Ellwood City this year and play basketball collegiately at Clarion University.

"My plan was to be a spectator for her high school years, but apparently God had different plans," Noble said on coaching her daughter. "It was so special to share that with her ... that role of being her coach and mom at the same time. I treasured every single moment I had with her in practices and at games. It's going to be fun to sit back and be a spectator. I'm looking forward to that."

Noble finished the 2023-24 season by helping guide her team to a playoff berth for the first time since 1998.

"I'm so proud of our team, our accomplishments and our 15-8 record," Noble said. "We had the best season since 1995. Unfortunately, we didn't reach our goal of winning that first playoff game but we have so much to be proud of."

Noble hopes that the success of the 2023-24 season will translate into the next season. She hopes to see the Lady Wolverines capture a section title next season with her soon-to-be seniors and the upcoming freshmen class.

In the 2013-14 season, Noble recorded a 7-15 record as head coach. Noble rejoined coaching Ellwood City for the 2021-22 season and ended her three-season stint as head coach with an overall record of 33-34.

"I started in 2011 as the assistant coach and coached in some capacity," Noble said. "After 13 years, it's kind of taken a toll on my family time. Claire (leaving) is a big factor. I need the time to travel and do that, but it's more than that. It's Jase (son) and Ryan (husband) back at home. I'd like to spend time with them."

Noble said she is sad to be leaving her upcoming seniors.

"It makes me so proud they're begging me to stay on," Noble said. "Delaney and Elsie Sturgeon and Caitlin Kreitzer, I've coached them since they were in seventh grade. Kayla Jones just joined us in 10th grade. It was really hard. I prayed about if I could stay one more year. I think God led me to the decision. It was time for someone else to come in."

Ellwood City's athletic director, Curt Agostinelli, commented on Noble's departure from coaching.

"She's a great person first of all," he said. "She's a teacher here, an ex-player here, she was born and raised in Ellwood City. You can't ask for anything better. Her family, she has some things going on there and her daughter's going to college. She definitely bleeds blue and white and we hate to see her go. I totally understand when you have kids and all of a sudden they're moving on to the next level. I'd hate to see her go, but I'm not mad at her by any means. I'm sure she'll still be around. Who knows? Maybe years from now she'll be back."

Agostinelli said they will be looking for a replacement as soon as possible and the position will hopefully be filled in April.

Noble said she's looking forward to spending time with her kids and her husband.

"We already started workouts with Claire. Claire's getting in the gym and I'm working with her individually to get her ready to play Division II basketball," Noble said. "I'm on my way right now to take Jase to hockey."