Kailing resigns as Reed City basketball coach

Veteran coach steps down after 12 seasons; hopes to devote more time to family

REED CITY — Jesse Kailing has had a highly successful basketball coaching career at Reed City but has decided to step away from his duties and focus on other areas.

Kailing, the Coyote boys basketball coach the past 12 seasons, announced on Friday that he is resigning his position.

Prior to taking the position 12 years ago, Kailing also served a six-year stint as junior varsity or freshman coach. His 12 Reed City teams had a .700 winning percentage and won six conference championships. This past season, the Coyotes were Central State Activities Association co-champions with Big Rapids and lost to the Cardinals in the district final.

“Before the season started, I talked to the kids and said this could be my last year,” Kailing said. “After reflecting and going after my future plan, I just needed some time off. I'm not ready for that summer stretch of basketball. I'm not gun ho and ready to do that right now.”

Family was a main issue for Kailing.

“I think I need some time away and need to spend some time with the family,” he said. “I have two young kids. Ty will be 7 and my daughter Jayna just turned 10. They have a lot of activities going on that I'd have to miss for basketball. I want to concentrate on that part of my life right now.”

Kailing graduated from Reed City in 1993. He played on the 1993 boys basketball team, coached by Earl Bronson, that won district and regional titles to advance to the state quarterfinals. Shortly after he graduated, Kailing started his coaching career.

“I coached baseball in my younger days in the Pony League,” he said, adding that in basketball, “the year after I graduated, my second year in college, I was assistant varsity coach at Big Rapids with Bill Burmeister. I coached for Bill that year. The following year, I coached the freshman girls at Big Rapids and the JV boys at Reed City. From that point forward, I was at Reed City.”

Kailing also coached the Reed City girls junior varsity five seasons.

“Brian (Koopman) was the boys and girls varsity coach at that time and I was the boys and girls JV coach,” Kailing recalled.

It was basketball that especially produced a lot of highlights for Kailing in his coaching career.

“Coaches are judged by wins and losses, but that's not how really I looked at my coaching career,” he said. “I look at the relationships that I've built with players and other coaches and people throughout the state of Michigan. I've met a lot of really good people who are trying to improve the lives of young people and trying to make them better.”

Kailing, general manager at Crossroads Chevrolet, didn't rule out the possibility he might eventually return to coaching.

“I'm sure I'll coach again someday,” he said. “With the age of my kids and with the goals and things I have for my future, I need to take a few years off and refresh the batteries a little bit and maybe go at it when my kids get a little bit older.”

Reed City athletic director Monty Price said the school got the word of Kailing's resignation Friday. He indicated the process for finding a replacement would probably start on Monday.

“We'll get things posted,” Price said. “To be honest with you, it's crunch time and we have to move fast.”

Having someone ready to work with the players in a summer program will be critical, Price indicated.

Linking the basketball coaching job with an open teaching position is not a likely scenario, Price added.

“There probably won't be any (new) hires next year,” he said. “It will probably be someone in our building or someone not in the teaching or education profession.”

Price complemented Kailing for his years with the program.

“I've been very fortunate to have had a chance to work with him in this capacity and develop a friendship with him,” Price, also the Reed City varsity football coach, said. “We're sadden to lose a good coach, but we're fortunate to have had him for some quality years and build the program to what I consider is a championship level.”

Presently, it's the only varsity head coach job open at Reed City, Price said.

“We want to find somebody that will take the program and will continue to do the good job Jesse has laid the foundation for and add to it in their own special way,” Price said. “We want to keep the tradition alive and continue to be competitive.”