Corey Dotchin steps down as Highlands boys basketball coach

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Monday, April 15, 2024 | 3:32 PM


With his first child on the way, Corey Dotchin decided that a daily commute to Natrona Heights wouldn’t work anymore for him and his growing family.

So the Highlands boys basketball coach has resigned after 12 years with the program, including the past three as head coach. He announced Monday he was stepping down.

Dotchin and his wife, Leah, are expecting a child in late August or September.

“Between home to work and work to Highlands and Highlands back to home, it’s about 90 miles round trip,” said Dotchin, who’s hoping to land a coaching job for next season on the other side of Allegheny County.

Highlands went 55-22 in Dotchin’s three seasons as head coach and reached the WPIAL semifinals twice. He first joined the program as an assistant coach in 2012 and spent nine years working under Tyler Stoczynski.

Their tenure together started with a one-win season, but they won a WPIAL title in 2020 and were runners-up in 2016. In his time as coach or assistant, Dotchin was part of 186 wins.

“I’ll always remember what we built,” Dotchin said. “We were 1-21 my first year as an assistant, and then three years later we’re playing in a WPIAL championship. We had a run where we were either in the finals or semifinals six out of seven years. We really put Highlands on the map as a program that year-in and year-out is one of the top teams in the area.”

The 35-year-old said he wants to keep coaching. Dotchin has applied elsewhere in the WPIAL and was optimistic he’d be in a gym somewhere next winter but hadn’t yet received a job offer.

If he does, it will come from a school closer to his home in Imperial.

“There were multiple times last season where it took me 55 minutes or more than an hour to get home,” Dotchin said. “If I’m able to land a head coaching job closer to home and that commute time is cut down significantly, then I see no problem being able to balance work and family and coaching responsibilities.”

Dotchin works in sales for a company that manufactures heating and ventilation products. He said the job allows him some flexibility, but a number of customers are in West Virginia.

“That required me at times to start earlier in the morning to get to Highlands in the afternoon,” said Dotchin, who saw that schedule as unmanageable with a baby at home. “To put all of that on (Leah) wouldn’t be fair.”

Highlands went 14-8 last season and reached the WPIAL playoffs for the 10th straight year. Dotchin said he wasn’t sure whether any of his assistants would be interested in the job but considered it a great opportunity for someone.

“The cupboard is not bare,” he said. “Our JV team was 18-4 or 17-5 last year. We return a starter. We return our sixth man. We have a good class of sophomores who’ll be juniors. There’s definitely a foundation there.

“I don’t want people to think that I’m chasing anything or leaving because of a lack of talent.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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