The success Huntley experienced in boys basketball over the past eight years made a significant decision both tough and easy for Marty Manning.
He didn’t really want to leave, although there were pluses if he jumped for Schaumburg’s head coaching job.
“The hardest thing to leave was that we had really great kids,” Manning said. “I know they’re going to win a lot of games. They have a lot of talent in the program, they’re going to be successful. That makes me feel a lot better about leaving.”
Manning was officially hired by the District 211 school board in its meeting April 24. He received permission from Schaumburg athletic director Tim Kirby to speak on the matter Wednesday and offered his reasons for leaving the Red Raiders, who were 162-68 under Manning with five regional titles and four consecutive Fox Valley Conference Valley Division championships.
“For me, it’s a new challenge,” Manning said. “Competing against Mid-Suburban League teams, I grew up watching Hoffman Estates, Conant and Schaumburg play from the fifth grade. My next challenge is to take over a program like that.”
Manning will teach business, computer programming and advanced placement computer science at Schaumburg. He played at Hoffman Estates in the MSL and witnessed some high levels of success at Schaumburg in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Saxons won the 2001 Class AA state championship under former coach Bob Williams.
Former Huntley athletic director Bruce Blumer knocked one out of the park when he hired Manning, the Raiders' former sophomore coach, before the 2006-07 season. With Huntley nearing 3,000 students, the recent success, and a solid feeder program in place, current AD Michelle Jakubowski should have a multitude of candidates for the job. There also will be construction on a new fieldhouse starting in June, planned to be finished by March.
“I would hope it’s an attractive job,” Jakubowski said. “We have some really qualified candidates already. Marty did an amazing job with the program. We want to get someone to continue what Marty did. Those are some big shoes to fill.”
Jakubowski posted the position Friday and hopes to have a new coach by the end of May. Jakubowski said the school is fortunate that with its growth there are teaching positions in many subjects for Manning’s potential replacement.
Manning’s teams won regionals, along with the Valley Division titles, in three of the past four seasons.
“I was proud of the way we did things on the floor and off the floor,” Manning said. “We got guys to work on their basketball skills all year round, even if they were playing other sports, which we encouraged them to do. They always bought into the team concept. Our best players were always willing to sacrifice their individual statistics for team success. Every good player saw a good player before him do that.”
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.