Dave Huber, who was asked not to return for his 17th season as Fitch High School girls' basketball coach this winter, has been reinstated to the position, athletic director Marc Romano confirmed Friday.
Huber's position had been filled in June by former Windham 1,000-point scorer Colleen Smith. Romano said he met with Smith, who handled the situation "very professionally."
Huber, who said he was initially told the program needed a "different voice," initially met with Groton interim superintendent Randall Collins to protest his firing.
"It's a little different, but I'm back where I really feel I belong," Huber said when reached Friday.
"This is my apex. This is my UConn. I don't want to be anywhere else. I grew up here. I went to school here. My wife went to school here. I have roots here. I love the kids."
Huber, a 1984 Fitch graduate who played for the boys' basketball team under Charlie Miller, followed by two seasons at Western Connecticut State University, is employed by the Social Security office in Norwich.
He said in May, after he was told not to reapply for the position of girls' coach, he was hurt.
"I thought coaching might be taken away. When it's something you love to do, it hurts," Huber said.
He called the local newspapers to say goodbye and that the change wasn't his idea, making it public, he said, so his players didn't think he was quitting on them.
Now Huber said he hopes to coach his daughter Alex, a seventh-grader at Cutler Middle School, in the near future.
Fitch was 11-11 overall last season. Huber's best season with the Falcons came in 2002-03, when they were 17-7 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class LL state tournament.
"I feel so ecstatic," Huber said. "This has to be the best job in the world. We might not have won a state championship, but I have had some terrific young ladies to coach. I've been very lucky."
Romano is in his first year as athletic director and said the decision to retain Huber was made before he arrived at Fitch. He said he has spoken to Huber for scheduling purposes, but has not met individually with the winter coaches yet.