By Mike Eckert
TRAVERSE CITY — Nobody expected Keith Haske to coach boys basketball at Charlevoix forever.
But it's doubtful many expected to see him coaching elsewhere — especially at a rival school.
That's exactly what happened when Haske left the Rayders and took a job at St. Francis.
"There was always that love-hate with Keith," St. Francis athletic director Tom Hardy said. "We hated him because he was with another team, but we loved him for what he did with his program. Now we get the best of both sides."
Charlevoix basketball has a new look this winter after Haske had spent the previous 13 leading the Rayders.
Haske isn't the only longtime coach no longer leading the program where they became a fixture.
In 2010, no place had a different look in terms of coaches than Petoskey.
It began in the fall of 2009 when Scott Batchelor retired from coaching the Northmen soccer programs. He had been a coach at Petoskey since 1983, came just short of 400 wins between the boys and girls and won two state titles.
Enter Zach Jonker, a 1995 Petoskey grad who played for Batchelor. The boys finished 10-8-3 this fall while the girls went 13-3-4 in the spring.
The Northmen also lost 20-year wrestling coach Ray Arthur, who retired in the spring with 685 wins and a state title. Nate Gross has taken over Petoskey's squad this winter.
This continued a recent trend at Petoskey after Don Dickmann stepped down after 31 years of coaching in both track and cross country.
Haske retired from his job at Charlevoix, but came to Traverse City for a new job with the Gladiators.
Besides taking over the basketball program, Haske is also the St. Francis high school assistant principal.
"I said when we hired him, it's great that he's our basketball coach, but we are so blessed to have him in our building working with all of our kids," Hardy said. "His leadership, his energy, his faith, he's a great fit for us. We couldn't have asked for more. He's a great role model for our kids."
With a young team, the Gladiators went 2-2 under Haske in December with losses to Class C state finalist Suttons Bay (70-61) and at Charlevoix (66-58) in obviously an emotional game for both sides.
While Haske look to keep winning in 2011, more coaching changes could be on the horizon.
Especially in Petoskey.
For years, Dennis Starkey has guided the boys basketball program while Matt Tamm has led the girls. However, both have children who will graduate this spring after all-state careers. If they go on to play college basketball, the coaches may be faced with a decision whether to continue or follow their children's careers.