Scott Kreiger has the new challenge he wanted. He's proved he can coach girls to the highest levels of high school basketball. Can he do it with boys?
After 28 years of coaching, he'll get his chance.
Kreiger has stepped down as the Canterbury girls coach to take over the boys program. The announcement came Monday afternoon. By that night, he was on the bench as Canterbury participated in a Fort Wayne Parks and Rec league game.
“I've wanted to get onto the boys side for a while,” he said. “We had success with the girls at Canterbury. The timing and circumstances a couple of times when the boys' job opened up weren't quite right. This time around it felt better. If I was going to do it, this was the time to give it a try.”
Kreiger thrived as Canterbury's girls coach. In 14 years he was 251-88 with four state championships (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012). He just finished coaching the Indiana girls All-Stars against Kentucky.
“I'm sure it seems to be a bit of a curveball,” he said. “Probably some people are wondering why this, why now? It came down to timing.”
Kreiger will take over a boys program coming off its first-ever semistate appearance. It was 19-7 last season and 36-12 in former coach Dan Kline's two-year run.
“I look forward to building on what Coach Kline has done,” Kreiger said. “Making a smooth transition will be a challenge. There are some gaps to fill, but there's quite a bit of talent left. We'll look to see who steps up this summer and fall. It's a challenge that every coach will face -- here's the hand you're dealt, what will you do with it.
“Coach Kline left the program in great shape. I'll try to continue what he started. I'll bring my style. The guys are familiar with it. Staying within the building, with guys who know me, made it easier. It would have been a lot different starting at another school.”
The Canterbury girls postseason success was due in part, Kreiger said, to its strong regular season scheduling. Kline had used a similar approach.
“I've always felt to schedule as strong as we could, especially in the Class A level, helps at tournament time. I'm going to maintain that philosophy. It will make us better by tournament time.”
Kreiger began evaluating players during league action while Jason Souder, the Canterbury JV coach, ran the team.
“I got a firsthand look at our group of kids and what sort of things are possible. Jason will stay on. He'll be a terrific link with the returning guys. He's a very talented young coach.”
Kreiger said he told his girls players on Monday.
“It was difficult when I shared the news. Those kids are terrific. They're very talented. They've been very loyal. That part of it was not easy.
“It was a personal decision. It had to do more with the timing in my coaching career. I won't coach forever. You don't know how many opportunities you'll get.
“The girls will continue to be successful. Hopefully, I can help the guys achieve the same success.”