In this Feb. 23, 2021, photo, Fort Recovery High School boys basketball coach Jim Melton, center, gives direction to his team during a break in action of the Division IV sectional semifinal against New Knoxville at Fort Site Fieldhouse. Melton, who coached the Indians for three seasons, did not have his contract renewed for the 2022-23 season. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
In this Feb. 23, 2021, photo, Fort Recovery High School boys basketball coach Jim Melton, center, gives direction to his team during a break in action of the Division IV sectional semifinal against New Knoxville at Fort Site Fieldhouse. Melton, who coached the Indians for three seasons, did not have his contract renewed for the 2022-23 season. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
Jim Melton will not return to Fort Site Fieldhouse for a fourth season.

Melton, who led the Fort Recovery High School boys basketball team, was informed recently he would not be renewed as the Tribe coach.

“I think as anyone would be, a little surprised,” Melton said this morning of his reaction when he learned the district would not renew his ongoing one-year contract. “Hard to put my finger on it but I think everything happens for a reason. As one door closes I’m sure another will open. I’m going to miss the community and a lot of the faculty and staff that I worked with. Most importantly, the boys from grades three through 12; I’ll miss the players I coached in the past that graduated.

“I’m very appreciative for the opportunity. Fort Recovery has been good to me.”

Fort Recovery athletics director Holly Gann could not be reached for comment. On Wednesday, Gann posted to the athletics department’s Twitter account the district was seeking a new coach.

Melton was hired as the program’s 16th coach on May 15, 2019, by interim athletics director Barb Sautbine. It was the third and final hiring Sautbine made in her interim role, filling that of AD (Brent Niekamp) and girls basketball coach (Gann).

(Gann was then hired in March 2021 as athletics director after Niekamp stepped down from the role.)

Melton was tabbed to take over the Tribe team from Michael Bashore, who resigned in April 2019.

Prior to his time in Fort Recovery, Melton, who lives in Winchester with his wife Angela, coached for one season at Arcanum. He was an assistant at Winchester for two seasons before going to Arcanum, and he spent five seasons as an assistant at Park Tudor in Indianapolis ahead of his stint at Winchester.

While at Park Tudor, Melton was on a staff that won three Class 2A state championships in the span of four years (2012, 2014, 2015). He also coached the likes of current NBA player Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State – Memphis Grizzlies), as well as former college standouts Kevin “Yogi” Ferrel (Indiana University) and Trevon Bluiett (Xavier University), both of whom now play overseas.

Fort Recovery was 37-25 overall in Melton’s three seasons, including a 13-12 mark in Midwest Athletic Conference play. (The Indians went 5-2 through the first seven games this year with assistant coach Bob Leverette at the helm while Melton was away from the team because of health issues.)

The Indians were third in the MAC at 5-4 during Melton’s first season, and finished fifth in each of the last two seasons with records of 5-4 and 4-5 record, respectively, in conference games.

Fort Recovery failed to advance past the sectional tournament each season under Melton.

“Just the closeness of the community and the work ethic of the kids, I’m really going to miss it,” Melton said. “I hope they find the right coaching candidate to continue to lead the program and keep things going in a positive direction.”

Gann’s Twitter post said interested candidates are directed to send a Fort Recovery Classified Employment Application and resume to gannh@fortrecoveryschools.org.

Deadline to apply is April 4.