Elgin Courier News Sports Editor R.J. Gerber has the story…
July 20, 2007
By R.J. GERBER sports editor
ELGIN — Larry Hight hasn’t coached a basketball game in 10 years.
But that will change this winter when Hight begins his tenure as Larkin’s varsity boys basketball coach.
The Royals former sophomore coach was named Thursday to succeed Joe Kain, who resigned June 4.
“I’m very excited about this,” said Hight, 54, who will remain as Larkin’s varsity softball coach, a position he’s held for 12 seasons. “I love basketball. I’ve loved it all my life.”
Hight has held head hoops coaching positions at Elmwood Park, Lovington and Potomac and coached on the underclass level at Larkin, Streamwood, West Chicago and York. A guidance counselor at Larkin, Hight will continue in that capacity. He left the Larkin basketball program in 1997.
But he’s back now and eager to get going.
“Larry is an outstanding person and an outstanding coach,” said Larkin athletic director Jim Juliano. “He’s also one of the hardest-working coaches I’ve ever been around. He’s bridled with enthusiasm and has a lot of experience.”
Larkin took a step back last season, posting a 6-23 mark after winning 20 games in 2005-06 with a senior-dominated squad. The Royals won regional titles under Kain from 2004-06.
“I think Larry is the right guy to continue the tradition that (Kain) has built,” said Juliano.
Hight grew up in basketball-crazy Pekin and graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1976. It was during that time in Charleston when Hight made the decision that coaching basketball was his goal. He took a basketball coaching class under the direction of former EIU bench boss Don Eddy that stoked his desire.
“Right then I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach,” said Hight.
Asked what Larkin fans can expect from his coaching tenure, Hight said he’s willing to be flexible when it comes to strategy.
“I have a lot of stuff for any type of talent we’ll have,” the three-time Courier News softball coach of the year said. “I’m a diehard man-to-man coach, but you’ve got to play multiple defenses. You make your decisions and you go from there. You have to be able to adjust.”
Larkin senior Cam Kinley was relieved to hear news that a coach had been hired. The Royals played a summer-league game at Harper College without a coach Thursday night.
“I guess (Hight) knows what we’re about and he’s probably seen us play,” said Kinley, a three-sport athlete for the Royals. “But it’s been kind of weird not having a coach.”
Kain surpised many when he resigned, citing family reasons. He’s reportedly accepted a teaching and underclass coaching position at another school outside Elgin School District U46.
“The first thing I’ve got to do is deal with the kids’ attitudes. They’ve had to deal with losing their head coach,” said Hight. “But without good attitudes, it can’t work.”
A familiarity with Larkin students should only help.
“It’s not like I’m a complete stranger to them,” Hight said. “But maybe as far as basketball I am.”