LEWISTON – Jim Hood had contemplated stepping down as the girls’ basketball coach at Lewiston High School a year ago. He just couldn’t bring himself to do it.

After his fourth season with the Blue Devils, he couldn’t resist the urge a second time. Hood has resigned as Lewiston’s coach but admits it is still a decision he struggles with.

“I just decided to step down,” he said. “I’ve got some things I want to pursue for myself. I’m doing it for the right reasons, but it’s still hard to do it.”

Hood said he may help out in some capacity with basketball programs in the future and may even get back into coaching again. For now, however, he felt he needed to step away and use that time in other ways.

“It’s still hard,” he said. “I don’t like quitting. It was a very hard decision, more than anybody would know.”

Hood is intent on seeking his master’s degree. It is a process he began once before, but coaching got in the way. He just didn’t feel he could juggle coaching both basketball and being an assistant football coach while working on his masters, either in technology or physical education.

“I started it once and then I got into coaching,” he said. “I’m going to hang with the football team. I think I can do that.”

Hood almost resigned last year for the same reasons. With one of the youngest teams the Blue Devils have had in years, he didn’t want to abandon the program in the rebuilding stages.

“I was thinking about it last year, but I knew the team wasn’t going to be that great of a team,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave anyone else holding the bag.”

After losing five regulars from a playoff team in 2005, Lewiston went 4-14 this season after three straight winning campaigns under Hood. He finished with a 43-19 record in the regular season and a 3-3 mark in the playoffs, including a run to the Western A final in 2003.

Prior to Lewiston, Hood was an assistant at Oxford Hills and Edward Little.

“I’ve coached some great athletes,” said Hood. “We’ve had some top notch intelligent and athletic kids. I’ve had some great kids that have played for me, and it has been great to be part of their lives.”

Lewiston graduates four seniors and have a number of promising players in the program or coming up. The job has been posted and applications are currently being accepted.

“I figure not this coming year but the following year, they’ll be pretty good,” said Hood. “I really believe they have a good base for someone coming in.”