TRAVERSE CITY — A little more than two months after accepting the boys basketball head coaching job at Kingsley High School, Travis Schuba is saying goodbye to the Stags and hello to the Trojans as he heads to Traverse City Central for the same position.
The 25-year-old Schuba replaces Jeff Turner, who stepped down as head coach in mid July. Schuba said he had conversations with Kingsley Athletic Director Mitch Miggenburg during the application and interview process for the Central position, which he called a "dream job."
"Obviously, I had to make a tough decision, but for the most part my family and I felt this was an opportunity I couldn't let pass," Schuba said. "The timing of this is not easy, especially not having coached a game for (Kingsley) other than over the summer. I just told Mitch ... that I hope he understood and that I appreciated everything they had done for me and giving me the opportunity to lead their program."
"Coaching at Central was an opportunity that may not come up again," he continued. "It's one that is a great chance for me at this stage in my career. I wish Kingsley nothing but the best moving forward."
Breaking the news to Miggenburg and others at Kingsley was extremely difficult for the first-time head coach.
"It's never an easy thing to do to tell someone who gave you a chance — your first chance — that you're leaving them for someone else," Schuba said. "It was the hardest decision I've had to make to this point. I don't look at myself as being the kind of person that makes those decisions. I'm normally a pretty loyal person. It was just such a hard decision. Two great schools. Two great programs. Two great communities. By far the hardest thing I've had to decide. One that took a lot out of me."
Central Athletic Director Mark Mattson said he also kept in contact with Miggenburg as he considered hiring and then ultimately hired Schuba.
"The lines of communication were open. I wanted to keep everything on the up and up," Mattson said. "The timing isn't perfect. ... I completely understand the timing for Kingsley certainly isn't preferable for them. We've been making sure we run a good process here to get the best fit for our guys. Fortunately for us, Travis was interested in the position. The opportunity presented itself and he rose to the top to take over at the helm. I certainly have the utmost respect for Kingsley."
Schuba's basketball pedigree — as both a player and coach — should earn him respect from his players. The former Kalkaska star played for Madonna University from 2010-14, during which time he was a three-year starter and team captain. He also suited up for the Washington Generals, who are best known for their dubious losing streak to the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. Schuba served as an assistant coach at Kalkaska from 2014-16, was on staff at Madonna in 2016-17, and coached the Northern Exposure 17U team during the 2017 AAU season.
"He certainly brings basketball IQ, there's no doubt about that," Mattson said. "He brings experience and, in my opinion, a wealth of it from his playing days and a great start to his coaching career. I know he aspires to be a great coach. I can tell he's got that energy and knowledge. He's going to bring a passion to our program and instill some things into our young guys that they're going to be excited about."
The Central AD said he has already received positive feedback about the hire from Central players.
"It's good to have that stamp of approval," Mattson said. "I know Travis' passion for hoops. I'm very confident it's going to rub off on the guys."
Schuba comes into a program on the rise with a solid senior class, a strong junior core and a wealth of "great young pieces" coming up through a system "loaded with talent."
"I'm looking forward to getting the community excited about this team and packing that gym every night and putting a product on that floor everyone can be proud of," Schuba said. "Being younger, I can kind of relate to the players a bit easier. That will go a long way for me already having their respect. Being able to have those good times and those laughs but knowing when it's time to crack down that I mean business. There's things we have to do and work we have to put in in order to have those good times and those laughs."
Now that he has landed his dream job, Schuba plans on sticking around to help build Central into a basketball powerhouse and perennial threat.
"I could see myself being here for quite some time."