MURRIETA Russell Ham’s tenure as Murrieta Mesa boys basketball coach is over.
Ham announced Monday he is stepping down from the helm of the Rams program.
Taking over a program that was started from scratch in 2010-11, Ham led the Rams to a winning season by the second year with a 17-11 record.
By season three, Murrieta Mesa had a chance to clinch a share of the Southwestern League on the last game of the regular season. The Rams finished with a 17-12 mark, including their first winning record in league play (6-4).
During the final stretch of league play, Mesa was playing in front of exuberant home crowds.
“We were one game away, three years into our varsity season,” Ham said. “A whole lot of teams can’t say they had that chance. What I am really proud of is how the school was super excited watching our team play.”
Ham cited family reasons for his resignation. His 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son are both three-sport athletes and he felt he was missing out on their endeavors. Ham began coaching at La Habra Sonora in 1988.
“I have never taken a Thanksgiving and Christmas break,” Ham said.
Junior varsity coach Kyle Rouse was appointed to take over the program on an interim basis.