After 181 wins in nine seasons as the head coach at Little Elm, Rusty Segler will no longer serve at the helm of the boys basketball program.
Segler and Little Elm ISD could not comment on the matter, but the school district issued a statement on Monday that said: “Little Elm ISD will be making a change to the head coaching position of the varsity boys basketball program next year. We want to thank Rusty Segler for the nine years he has spent coaching our varsity boys basketball team. Although Mr. Segler has been approved to receive a teaching and coaching contract with the district for the upcoming school year, it will be in a different capacity."
Administration would not specify what Segler’s new teaching and coaching duties entail.
Just over two years ago shortly following the 2016-17 season, the 61-year-old Segler was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow and has been battling the life-threatening disease ever since.
Despite combating the cancer during each of the last two seasons, he led the Lobos to the regional quarterfinals in 2018 and to the area round this past season before falling to eventual state champion Mansfield Timberview, 76-70.
When the news that he would no longer be the Lobos’ head coach broke, many close to him, such as Rod Hampton, father of five-star recruit and Little Elm junior RJ Hampton, hoped it wasn’t basketball-related.
“He’s been a mentor to RJ, and it’s sort of like having your grandfather coaching,” he said. “We were committed to him being RJ’s coach throughout high school. That’s the main reason we didn’t go to a prep school. [Segler] was better for RJ than any prep school coach would be.”
Hampton, who led the area in scoring with 32 points per game and was later named Gatorade Texas Boys Basketball Player of the Year, recently narrowed his college decision down to Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Memphis. He also said that reclassifying to the class of 2019 has become a legitimate possibility.
Now only time will tell if Segler’s reassignment will play a role in Hampton’s looming decision.
As for some of the other players on the team that contributed a great deal to the program’s success over the years, many simply could not believe it.
“I was heartbroken because this was somebody that helped me grow up for four years,” said Brandon Crossley, senior guard. “After everything he built for the program, now he has to stay in the school and watch it get run by somebody else… that’s just not right.
“Everybody knows about his health problems and about everything going on with his family, but if he wants to do anything before anything does happen or if he does pass away, it would be coach basketball. He basically had half of his life taken from him because that’s something he loves to the max.”
Two-year starter and senior Will Harris was also devastated and believes that Segler’s name is synonymous to the Lobos program.
“When you think of Little Elm basketball you think of coach Segler first,” he said. “Without him being there, there’s no Little Elm basketball. Everybody knows him and his impact that he has left on everyone that has come through here is crazy.”