Kyle Sears is the coach of the “new” Elkhart High School Lions, a merger of Central and Memorial. Each school has carried their own identity since Elkhart High School split into the two in the early 1970’s. And each enrolls over 1500 students. So uniting them into one has its complexities. “There are mixed feelings about the merger of the two schools from all involved,” Coach Sears says. “However, there is an excitement as the schools move forward as one as well. Fans are excited about the possibilities of one school.”
On the basketball court, expectations will certainly be high. There is already a familiarity among the players, from growing up playing in the close-knit community. “Not only have the guys played against one another, but they have also played together often. They played on middle school teams together. They play in open gyms around the city together. They are already friends. Most are excited about the opportunity of playing together,” Sears adds. And Coach is excited too. “It will take time, but the excitement level is high.”
The merger also means Coach will now have essentially the whole city as his feeder program. And he’s using this time now to outline his vision for that. “With being one school and the feeder feeding one school,” Sears explains, “we will work more closely with the middle schools. We are also going to work with our first through sixth grades in practices and local leagues.” While working through the program vision any changes to his system, Sears admits it would be a much more seamless transition in a normal spring. “The transition to the new position is a little crazy with trying to meet players and parents through virtual meetings or phone calls. I would much rather have everyone in one place and talk to them all and answer all the questions at once. However, it is the hand we have all been dealt. Everyone is going through the same thing.”
The Lions are hoping to have a June to work out some of the kinks. Certainly there will be some things to work out. The question marks of who will be on the team, in what role will they have, etc. don’t go unrecognized. Concludes Coach, “We are taking cross-town rivals and trying to mend the fences and move forward.”
And given the opportunity they have, the palpable excitement in the community, and the pedigree and proven success of Coach Kyle Sears, we anticipate nothing but success for the Elkhart Lions boys basketball program. From the folks at Feel for the Game, we wish you nothing but the best.