TRAVERSE CITY — Doug Baumann’s surprise promotion came with some tears.
Baumann stepped down as Traverse City West’s girls basketball coach last week following a promotion to Detective Sergeant at the Michigan State Police’s Houghton Lake post.
Players were surprised, but his own kids may have taken it hardest.
Baumann’s 9-year-old daughter Ellie and 6-year-old son Chace cried when he told them, as the two had become fixtures at Titan basketball events.
“It was very heartbreaking to make this decision,” Baumann said. “I didn’t anticipate this opportunity was going to be around for another three or five years.”
Baumann’s promotion from trooper to detective leaves West with yet another a vacancy in the girls basketball program — something athletic director Jason Carmien has dealt with before.
“In order to have a successful program, you need consistency, continuity — and we’re looking for that,” Carmien said. “Now we’re on the lookout for another leader, and someone that can be long term.”
Carmien knew he’d eventually likely lose Baumann when the promotion came, but neither expected it this soon.
Carmien said the position is already posted — along with the junior varsity and freshman posts — and he’ll leave them open throughout the summer and aims to have a hire by September who can have input into the JV and freshman positions.
“Doug was a great presence,” Carmien said. “He did a lot to stabilize a situation that was difficult.”
West has had five varsity girls basketball head coaches since 2011 — Patti Tibaldi, David Ginsberg, Rebecca McKee, Mike Wilde and Baumann, who took over after Wilde passed away late in the 2017-18 season.
The Titans turned things around last season under Baumann, placing second in the Big North Conference at 13-10 overall and 7-3 in league play. West combined for nine wins in the previous three seasons and finished last in the BNC twice in that span after Ginsberg led the Titans to the 2014-15 league title.
Baumann was named the Record-Eagle’s 2018-19 girls basketball Coach of the Year.
Baumann worked out of Kalkaska as a trooper, and now has to drive to Houghton Lake five times a week, which wouldn’t allow him to get back to Traverse City in time to run practices. The new position also has a less flexible schedule.
“I was so excited about what this program could become,” Baumann said. “If I had a magic wand and could create more time, I’d be able to do both.”