It was the hardest decision Danny Melzer ever had to make, in the end taking the path that made the most sense for his family.

Melzer, who was the head boys basketball coach at Stamford the last four seasons, is leaving to take over as the new head coach for boys basketball at New Canaan.

Melzer replaces Mike Evans who resigned after this past season.

Leaving the school he attended and played basketball and baseball at before becoming an assistant and then head basketball coach, was more difficult than Melzer ever dreamed it would be.

“It was a very difficult decision which I agonized over for months,” Melzer said. “I spoke to a lot of people close to me but at the end of the day it was a great opportunity for me and my family and I couldn’t pass it up.”

As part of the move, Melzer will become a full-time physical education teacher at New Canaan High. He will be the first boys basketball coach to work in the school since the legendary Don Usher stepped down as coach at the end of the 1994 season.

“I hope that by being in the school I can bridge the gap for basketball and get more kids involved,” Melzer said. “Everyone I have talked to about New Canaan talks about how much this community loves sports and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

“I know basketball is not a major sport in New Canaan the way it is in Stamford but this is an opportunity for me to go and put my imprint on a program,” Melzer said. “I am looking forward to meeting the players and being part of the New Canaan hoops community and I’m excited to get involved with the youth program in town.”

New Canaan was 4-16 this past season, failing to make the state tournament. However, the team was in many of those games and returns a solid core of seniors including All-FCIAC second teamer Tyler Sweeney.

Melzer feels like the experience those seniors had at the varsity level will help them get those four more wins needed to qualify for states.

“They were competitive in a lot of games and that experience will help transfer to next season,” Melzer said. “There is no way to duplicate actually going through a season in this league and those players coming back should be better for it. We have a lot of work to do but hopefully we can work together to accomplish what we have to.”

Melzer, who was 51-38 during his four years as head coach at Stamford, said leaving the school he grew up in was hard, as was saying goodbye to athletic director Jim Moriarty who coached Melzer as a player and for whom Melzer served as an assistant for seven years.

“I am so thankful to Mo for giving me an opportunity to coach and I will miss him and I will miss Stamford,” Melzer said. “I learned so much from him about basketball but also about treating the kids the right way. Mo is like a second father to me and I didn’t know how to tell him I was leaving. It was difficult for me. I owe a lot to him.”

Scott.Ericson@scni.com; @EricsonSports