After 30-plus years in the profession, including the last 10 leading the Macomb Community College men’s basketball program, Jim Twigg has retired from coaching. The announcement bookends a highly-successful, decade-long tenure as the Monarchs’ head coach where Twigg compiled a 165-134 record.
“I consider myself lucky to have been the coach at Macomb for the past 10 years,” said Twigg. “Macomb basketball has been a major part of my life for the past decade and I am truly thankful to the college and its leadership for giving me the opportunity to lead their program. I was able to follow in the footsteps of two coaches who were mentors to me and was honored to carry on the legacy they built at Macomb.”
In 2010, Twigg assumed the head coaching role when longtime coach, Henry Washington, retired after 17 years at the helm. Washington, along with John Switchulus, his predecessor of 16 years, acted as mentors to Twigg long before his days at Macomb.
“I have been a part of Macomb County basketball since I was a young player. Over the years, I attended several of Switch’s [Coach John Switchulus] practices and at the time Coach Washington was also on his staff. I helped run camps for Switch and always looked up to him. I remember thinking he had a great job and how great it would be to become the head coach of a program like Macomb’s one day. Years later, I can confirm it was a great job—one that I will miss—but I am glad I had the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.”
Twigg, combining years of wisdom imparted from his mentors with his own coaching experience, followed in their footsteps by building a perennial conference contender over the course of his decade guiding the Monarchs.
Throughout his 10-year career at Macomb, Twigg’s teams were a mainstay in the NJCAA Region XII Tournament, making appearances in seven of 10 seasons, including five consecutive trips to the tournament’s semifinal round from 2014-15 to 2018-19. After a runner-up finish in 2015-16 that ended in a narrow overtime setback, Twigg and the Monarchs broke through a year later in 2016-17, winning the Region XII Championship to earn a spot in the NJCAA National Tournament. The Monarchs’ region title and subsequent national tournament bid led Twigg to be named 2016-17 Region XII Coach of the Year. Twigg amassed a .552 winning percentage during his time leading the Monarchs and averaged 16.5 wins per season.
The successful stretch led to a bevy of individual honors for the Monarchs over the years.
A staggering 51 student-athletes were named to various all-conference teams under Twigg’s guidance, including former MCCAA Freshman of the Year and 2017-18 NJCAA All-American Second Team member, Dwight Burton. Last season, six Monarchs earned all-conference or all-defensive team honors to cap off a stellar final campaign of the Twigg era.
“I’ve had the honor of coaching scores of exceptional young men throughout my time at Macomb, and I am proud of what they achieved during their time at Macomb and thereafter,” Twigg said. “I hope the players are proud of the teams we had and the overall program they helped build, shape and sustain over the years.”
Twigg attributes the long list of team and individual accomplishments during his tenure to a great coaching staff, a dedicated cast of student-athletes and a great friend whom he shared the court with at Macomb.
“We were able to achieve success at Macomb, thanks to the great staff and players we had along the way,” Twigg continued. “However, I wouldn’t be where I was at Macomb without Jay [Jay Ritchie, Macomb women’s basketball head coach]. If I have a big brother in coaching, it’s Jay. I am very thankful for his friendship and guidance throughout the years. Having two college programs sharing a gym is never an easy task, but Jay made it easy—he always made it work—and I am forever grateful to him.”
While he has retired from coaching, Twigg will remain as a counselor at Cousino High School—a position he held full time while leading Macomb’s program.
“I always said I would coach as long as I could give both Cousino and Macomb 100% of the energy needed to do the job correctly,” said Twigg. “With the pandemic creating uncertainty in all our lives, including the routines of students and parents across the country, I realized coaching was no longer sustainable due to all of the unknowns that lie ahead for the upcoming academic year and beyond. The decision to retire was not easy, but I care deeply about Macomb and have always attempted to make decisions that were in the best interest of the program. This decision [to retire] reflects that mindset.”
Bryan Rizzo, Macomb’s Athletic Director, knew Twigg unselfishly made his decision in the best interest of Macomb moving forward.
“I really enjoyed working with Coach Twigg the past two years,” said Rizzo. “It was very clear, even in his decision to retire, that he always has had the best interest of Macomb at the forefront. He has been a part of the program for years and built it into a well-respected, successful stalwart among the junior college ranks. Additionally, many players have moved on from Macomb to play at four-year schools under his leadership. I’m very happy he will continue to help us in an advisory capacity as we transition, and we thank him for his dedication to the program over the years”.
Twigg’s response when asked what he will miss the most about coaching at Macomb?
“I’m really going to miss the early stages of a season—the first few weeks of practice, getting everyone together and watching the team shape its identity,” remarked Twigg. “I’m going to miss the relationships with the assistant coaches and other coaches in the building. And, of course, the Macomb gym and that feeling before tip-off—that’s where my mind goes the most. We were fortunate to earn quite a few wins at home over the years and we made many good memories inside that gym.”
“I’ll miss it, but I won’t be a stranger. I look forward to seeing what’s next for the program and watching its history continue to unfold.”
As for next steps for Macomb men’s basketball, an announcement regarding the next head coach of the men’s basketball program will be made soon.