Jaime Taggart has chosen her family over her job.
Taggart passed up on a chance to return for a sixth season as head coach of the Brandon University Bobcats women's basketball team, declining the school's offer of a two-year contract extension.
"I love my job, I believe I'm great at it," said Taggart, who is under contract until the end of August but is on parental leave, having given birth to her first child in March. "I believe I was made for it but I love my kid and family more and when it came down to picking and choosing, that's the choice I made. On one hand it was a hard choice, on the other it was quite easy."
The Bobcats have gone just 6-84 in CIS Canada West conference play over the past five years, and Taggart's status has been up in the air for months. She went on medical leave in November and spent the rest of the season away from the team, which went winless in conference play.
The university denied her bid for tenure this spring, but Taggart appealed and was granted a two-year extension on her application. Initially happy about the outcome of the appeal, Taggart said after more reflection she decided it was best to turn down the offer.
"We began making arrangements as a family for me to go back to work and then we just kinda sat on it a little bit and my husband and I, it was a very tough decision, but we decided that I was going to stay at home," she said.
The university is now in the unenviable position of having to scramble to find a new coach under an extremely tight timeline.
"We've been busy today and we'll be trying to fill the position as soon as possible," said acting athletic director Russ Paddock.
"We're going to look at what's best for the program in the short term and the long term and see how we can best proceed."
Just what kind of team BU will be able to put on the floor next season remains to be seen, with the program still in the preliminary stages of recruiting while most of the top players have already committed to other schools.
"There's been some recruiting taking place and we'll be trying to finalize some of that in the next few weeks, regardless of whether somebody is hired quickly or whether it takes a little while," Paddock said.
Taggart said she is willing to provide information or help to anyone who wants her input, but will not be part of the recruiting process. And despite her departure for the team, she's not ruling out a return to coaching when the time is right.
"I was born to coach and I'm not done yet," she said. "But I was also born to be a mother and that's my focus now."