By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City West filled its varsity boys basketball vacancy on Thursday when it announced the hiring of Greg Immink.
Immink was selected out of the more than 20 candidates who applied for the position. He replaces Brett Graham, who resigned following an eight-year stretch as the Titans’ head man.
“I’m very excited,” said Immink, who also was hired to teach physical education at the elementary school level. “Traverse City is a great place to be. All the people I’ve met here have been very hospitable and it’s been a really positive experience. I think it’s a place where there’s a lot of potential, the facilities are great, academically it’s a very good school. I’m just excited to get started with the guys this summer and see what we can turn it into.”
Immink has head coaching experience with U-20 Oberliga in Weiden, Germany — he played professionally in Germany and Slovakia — and also on the AAU circuit in the Holland area.
“I have to say we had a very strong pool of candidates,” said TC West athletic director Patti Tibaldi. “He rose above. I think his demeanor, his experience, his obvious passion for the game and his appreciation of building relationships with kids were the things that really stood out to me.”
Immink is a 2001 graduate of Hudsonville High School — he starred in football and basketball — and a 2006 graduate of Hope College, where he is among the school’s all-time leaders in games played, steals, assists and three-pointers attempted. He just completed a masters degree at Michigan State and also had a role as an administrative assistant with the Spartans’ program.
“He was the top masters student at State last year in the kinesiology program,” said Tibaldi. “Looking at all the aspects of it, he’s young and he’s got the energy to do it. He attended a Class A high school. He gets the big picture. I think he’s going to do a great job.”
Immink admits he knows very little about the team he’s inheriting, but that’s set to change in a hurry as he’s stepping in and guiding the Titans through the remainder of their summer program. West is coming off a 12-9 season that included a share of the Big North Conference title with Cadillac and Petoskey. The Titans were eliminated from the district tournament by Traverse City Central in a 42-39 opening round loss.
“From what I hear they graduated a pretty good class last year; several players who went on to Kirtland Community College,” said Immink. “Anytime you lose several players who are playing at the next level there’s going to be spots where guys need to step up. We’re going to work hard this summer so guys can do that. We’re going to work hard to be the best we can be.”
Immink plans to play an up-tempo style with a definite emphasis on tough defense.
“I hope it’s an exciting brand of basketball,” he said. “I think it’s going to be. Hopefully we can get some people to come out and watch and support.”