When Waverly begins the 2013 portion of their girls basketball season tonight at Grand Ledge, the team will be without their head coach.
Waverly athletic director Chris Huff confirmed Wednesday that first-year coach Dan Carr is taking an indefinite leave of absence from coaching for health reasons.
Assistant coach Matt Oppenheim will take over on an interim basis for Carr, who has already missed three games since his last game on the sideline on Dec. 14.
Huff does not expect Carr to return to coaching this season, due to an illness that has not yet been diagnosed.
“He’s trying to get things figured out, and it’s taken longer than anticipated,” Huff said. “Instead of being at half-strength and half-effort, he decided to give the girls a more stable situation with the assistants taking over. We’re giving him the time he needs to heal.”
Carr, whom Huff said does plan on continuing as a teacher at Waverly High School for as long as he can, did not return a call seeking comment.
“He has to not only coach his team at full capacity, he has to instruct his students at full capacity,” Huff said. “So he had to make a decision between the 150 students he has in class or the 14 girls he coaches. He’s going to try to keep teaching, so coaching has to be set aside.”
Huff said that he anticipates a seamless transition from Carr to Oppenheim, who is also Waverly’s varsity baseball coach.
“The assistant coaches have taken a team approach to coaching anyway, so I don’t expect much to change,” he said. “It’s just a different person making the game decisions. The coaching hierarchy, the philosophy, the program, and everything has been put in place already, so they shouldn’t miss a beat.”
Waverly, 4-4 overall going into tonight’s game, is 2-1 in Carr’s absence with the only loss coming to defending Class A state champion Grand Haven on Dec. 27. The Warriors began the season 0-3 before a four-game winning streak that was snapped against Grand Haven.