Guy Jensen said that Piscataway has been more like an extended family than just a basketball team he has coached the past eight years.
So, it was like he was celebrating with nephews when the Chiefs won Greater Middlesex Conference championships in 2009 and 2007, reached the Group 4 title game in 2008 and claimed three GMC-Red Division titles.
Like other coaches in New Jersey, Jensen made his stewardship of this quality program an almost 12-month commitment each year, yet found the long hours fulfilling and enjoyable.
But the 45-year-old Jensen said it is time now to devote more of himself to his nuclear family in Scotch Plains, wife Jodi and their children, 15-year-old Ryan and 12-year-old Taylor.
Jensen informed Piscataway athletic director Paul Schoeb recently that he will retire at the completion of this season, and he submitted an official letter of resignation to Dr. Michael Wanko, the school's principal, on Monday. Piscataway (13-12), seeded No. 11 in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4, will face sixth-seeded Dickinson in the first round at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Jersey City.
"This is a tough, tough decision, but it's also one that I felt was necessary," Jensen said. "Ryan and Taylor are both very active in their own interests outside of school and, right now, I need to be a father and make sure I don't miss out on what they're doing.
"I know in the blink of an eye, my children will be all grown up and off to college," he said. "I do not want to have any regrets."
Piscataway can't have any second thoughts about hiring Jensen as head coach prior to the 2004-05 season. The school had four head coaches in the four years prior to his arrival from St. Joseph in Metuchen, where Jensen served as an assistant for five seasons.
The Chiefs won 14 games in Jensen's inaugural season and were GMC champion just two years later. The 2007-08 squad, led by J.D. Griggs, Omar Smith and James White, finished 24-5, won the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title and fell to Rancocas Valley in the Group 4 championship game. The team won 24 games the following season despite the loss of several key seniors.
"We had excellent kids in the program and I've always been surrounded by great people on my staff and within the program," Jensen said. "I've worn the black and gold with a tremendous amount of pride and my love and respect for Piscataway and the game of basketball runs deep."
Jensen came into the job wanting to do much more than coach victories. He began and Mom and Dad Club and also instituted a mandatory study hall for the players. Several of the dads in the program, like Jeff Adkins and Dennis Wells, undertook important roles several years ago with the summer program and remain on the coaching staff even though their sons have graduated.
"I've coached with some of the best coaches in the country and I've coached against some of the best in the country," Jensen said. "I intend on being back in the game in some form down the road; I love it too much to leave it for good. I will know the right situation when it comes along."
Mike Kinney covers boys basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS