Family and championships mean business as usual for Canterbury’s Scott Kreiger’s final run as coach

Scott Kreiger, left, and son Cam at the Canterbury High School gym on Monday. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of
The Kreiger family poses on Canterbury High School senior night. From left, Christina Badali, Colten Kreiger, Christian Kreiger, Cam Kreiger, Greg Fenker, Diana Fenker, Stacie Kreiger, Scott Kreiger and Cassie Kreiger. (Courtesy photo)

Canterbury High School boys basketball coach Scott Kreiger’s approach to his farewell to Hoosier Hysteria was to make it business as usual.

In other words, Kreiger and his Cavaliers ended up holding another trophy.

“These guys bought into the idea that we’re going to get knocked around for a while, but when the tournament comes around, we’re going to be ready,” Kreiger said. “This group is absolutely playing as well as they’ve played all year.”

Canterbury beat Bluffton 53-46 to win the Class 2A sectional championship last weekend. The Cavaliers (11-13) advance to play No. 2 Westview (26-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the North Judson regional semifinals. The sectional title was the fourth in Kreiger’s six years as Canterbury coach.

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Kreiger, who coached Canterbury’s girls team to four state championships in 14 seasons before taking over the boys program, will leave Canterbury at the end of the year to move to Fort Myers, Fla.

“I wasn’t sure how it would feel and how I would address it, but it’s really been just business as usual,” Kreiger said. “I know when it’s over, it’s over. But in the meantime, it’s not over and we’ll keep having a good time, working hard and enjoying the experience.”

Kreiger’s last go-round includes a special treat in the fact one of his four seniors is his son, Cam. Kreiger and his wife Stacie have four children, and he has coached three of them – Cassie, Christian and Cam. His other son, Colten, worked as an assistant with his father on the boys team two years ago. Scott Kreiger’s father, Wayne, is one of his assistants this season.

“Winning the sectional was really special, being both of our last years,” Cam Kreiger said. “We’ve been talking all year – climb the ladder one more time, cut the nets down one more time. It’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Canterbury took its share of lumps during the regular season. The Cavaliers play a schedule loaded with bigger schools and often those schools’ teams have more talent. Canterbury started the season 2-9 with six double-digit losses.

A stretch of late games where they won six of seven – the only loss being to Class 4A Homestead – set the tone for a more confident team entering the postseason.

“We’re going to play our tough 3A and 4A schedule and get better throughout the year,” Cam Kreiger said. “The idea is that when we get to the tournament, we won’t encounter anything we haven’t already seen.”

Scott Kreiger decided to step aside as coach so he and Stacie could move to Florida after Cam became the fourth child to head south. Cam will attend Florida Gulf Coast University next fall. The older Kreiger children are all in Florida with their jobs or schooling.

Scott Kreiger has taken a position as a teacher, with hopes to resume coaching in some capacity at Canterbury School in Fort Myers. Yes, he’s switching from one Canterbury to another. The Fort Myers Canterbury is the Cougars, and the school colors are a lighter shade of blue.

The coach told his players in early February of his decision to make the move.

“I wasn’t sure how it would go and it was tough to talk to the team that day,” Scott Kreiger said. “From that day on, we tried to keep it business as usual. I’m glad whatever distraction was minimized. The guys pushed forward and we’ve tried to get better every night.”

Kreiger has mastered walking the fine line between being dad and coach. Scott and Cam both say they will sometimes discuss past games or an upcoming game when they’re at home, but they never let basketball get in the way of everyday family life.

“It’s an opportunity to do things together,” Scott said. “We’ve been very fortunate we’ve had a lot of success. As a parent, I’m so grateful my kids have had a chance to do some of that stuff. As a parent, I’m happy I had the opportunity to work so closely with them.”

Before he coached Cassie, Scott said he was given some advice about dealing with being a father/coach and was warned of some pitfalls in the situation. But he never saw the negative side.

“The tension that you’re always concerned might exist, just never ever was a reality,” Scott said.

Westview presents a major roadblock for Canterbury to keep its season going, of course.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Cam Kreiger said. “We know the feeling of winning (a title) and we want to go get another one. We’ll play anybody – March Madness and all that going on. We’ll be really excited by the time Saturday comes around.”

Tournament time, after all, is Kreiger time.