“I just considered this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach my son in varsity basketball,” Warren said, who submitted his resignation to Spring Lake athletic director Cavin Mohr-hardt on Tuesday.
“Mike went to Calvary from (kindergarten) through eighth, so now he’ll be transferring back. It’s a dream we’ve had as a family for a lot of years and we’re very excited. I’ve loved being at Spring Lake, but I felt the chance to coach him for the next three years was something I couldn’t turn down.”
What made the decision even more difficult, Warren said, was leaving a solid program he helped develop. Before he arrived 10 years ago, Spring Lake’s girls program had four winning seasons total from 1973 to 2000. During Warren’s decade as coach, the Lakers had six winning campaigns.
His brightest moments at Spring Lake occurred recently. In 2009, the Lakers snapped a 25-year district championship drought by beating Muskegon Heights; a year later, with a senior-laden lineup, Spring Lake went 20-3 and captured the program’s first-ever outright conference championship.
Warren compiled a career record of 133-84 at Spring Lake (61 percent).
“I got a bit emotional telling Cavin my decision. I thanked him for all the support throughout the years,” Warren said. “The most difficult thing, though, was telling the girls today. That’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. They are a part of what I call a Lady Laker family, and obviously, it was tough leaving that.”
Warren previously coached varsity boys basketball for four seasons at Carson City-Crystal, and at lower grade levels at Denver Christian High School. He said there were several worthy candidates in Spring Lake’s program he’d like to see take over his vacancy, but he declined to mention any names.
Warren is replacing Rick Maine at Fruitport Calvary, who is also the school’s athletic director.
Warren said he will remain a high school social studies and world history teacher at Spring Lake.
Mohrhardt said he’s sad to see Warren leave.
“I totally understand as a father and as a coach, and I support that,” Mohrhardt said of Warren’s desire to coach his son. “I’m disappointed that he’s leaving Spring Lake. He’s had a great 10 years. He’s done a great job with our girls program and taken it to the next level. I wish him the best of luck.”
Michael Warren, a 6-foot-5 center, was considered one of the Lakers’ most promising underclassmen in their program. He was a member of Spring Lake’s 19-1 junior varsity team, and was called up to varsity for the district tournament.
Warren said he doesn’t believe the notion that his son’s basketball career will be hindered since he’s going from Class B competition at Spring Lake to Fruitport Calvary’s Class D. The Eagles finished 7-14 last season and were eliminated by Muskegon Catholic Central in districts, 62-28.
“It’s different now in Class D,” Warren said. “You’re seeing quite a few players getting college scholarships, whether they come from WMC, Muskegon Catholic or Tri-Unity Christian. Players are getting more exposure at summer camps and AAU, where college coaches are scouting.”