James Bates is stepping down as Conway High boys basketball coach after 14 seasons.

Bates, whose Wampus Cats were 15-10 last season and lost in overtime to Fayetteville in the 7A state tournament, has submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the school year, to Dr. Greg Murry, superintendent of Conway Public Schools.

Murry said Bates will continue to teach mathematics at the high school.

His career, with a record of 249-135, includes a 7A state championship in 2010, runner-up in 2008 and two conference championships.

"Coach Bates has done an outstanding job of leading our young men as head coach of the Wampus Cats over the last 14 years," Murry said in a press release. "I appreciate the class that he has shown while encouraging excellence both on the court and in the classroom,"

Murry said Bates told him it was a time for a change.

"He has been at it a long time, especially when you consider his time here as a junior high coach," Murry said. "Coaching is not an easy life, and he told me he was just ready to go in a different direction."

Murry said a search has already begun for a replacement.

"There is no timeline," he said. "We are trying to get someone as soon as possible. This is prime time to conduct a search now that state tournaments are over."