The Charlie Huggins' era is over for Hiland High School basketball, and that means that a new one begins, this time with former Huggins aide Perry Reese Jr. at the helm for the Hawks.
Huggins resigned late last summer for personnel reasons after leading Hiland to a 37-10 ledger in two seasons along with a pair of district tournament berths and an Inter-Valley Conference championship in his first season.
Reese, Huggins' assistant a year ago, takes over a team that was 19-4 a year ago and feels some extra pressure following a legend as the Hawks mentor.
"Naturally I feel some pressure. I have all of the respect in the world for coach Huggins," said the new coach. "He is going to be a tough act to follow.
"But, the challenge is there for me and I just have to step in and get the job done."
Reese is taking over a team that lost its top scorer and point guard from last season, two positions which are esential to winning basketball.
Art Yoder, a two-year starter for Huggins, averaged 18.4 points an outing a year ago, while Dave Schlabach was the Hawks' floor general.
"The loss of (Art) Yoder and (Dave) Schlabach is going to hurt," noted Reese. "They played the key positions last year."
Craig Miller and Dan Hostetler have also departed from a year ago. Miller and Hostetler were important to Huggins' hard-nosed defense, along with being the Hawks' top two rebounders.
Schlabach's younger brother, Tim (5-foot-8 junior), will take over at the point guard spot and Reese is counting on Keith Troyer to pick up the scoring slack.
Troyer, a 6-0 junior, has been playing on the varsity level since midway through his freshman season and was the Hawks' second-leading scorer (12.4 ppg) last season.
Mark Miller and Don Mast also earned letters last season and return to the 1984-85 edition of the Hawks.
Miller, 5-7 senior, wil team with Schlabch in the back court, while Mast (6-1 senior) will see action at forward.
Seniors Courtney Erb and Eric Gerber are both in the hunt for playing time at a forward position.
A trio of juniors, Dave Jaberg, Eugene Hostetler, and James Yoder, will also fit into Reese's scheme for the upcoming year.
Reese hopes his team will be competitive, but its inexperience could present some problems.
"We hope to be very competitive," said Reese, "but we are young as far as varsity experience is concerned.
"Experience will be our weak point," continued Reese, "especially since the competitiveness in the IVC is so high."
Even with the pressure, Reese is happy with the transition from Huggins' style of basketball to his own.
"Roger Ramseyer (principal) and Roger Dunn (superintendent) have been very helpful with the transition," said Reese, concerning the administration.
"Now I have to try to do the best job that I can. I am not a Charlie Huggins and I am not going to try to be one.
"I have to take my knowledge of the game and relay it to the kids.
"We'll just take one game at a time."