As the former longtime coach at Pennfield High School, one of the biggest games of the season for Chuck Miknis was always when Delton Kellogg came to town.
Looking at the schedule tonight, Delton Kellogg is coming to town to play Pennfield, and even though he hasn’t been the head coach at Pennfield for a few years, it will still be a big game for Miknis.
As part of the Delton Kellogg vs. Pennfield boys’ varsity basketball game tonight, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., Miknis will be honored for all of his years as a coach and a teacher at Pennfield High, after he retired from teaching quietly at the end of last season.
The game picked to honor Miknis is appropriate for several reasons.
Miknis is a graduate of Delton Kellogg, and when he was the coach at Pennfield, it was always a natural rivalry for him as both teams played in the Kalamazoo Valley Association.
And now his son, Steve Miknis, is the coach at Delton Kellogg — so it will be even more of a family affair tonight when the two schools meet up.
“On the one side, you have the town where I grew up, and on the other side, you have Pennfield where I coached and where I live, so when those teams play each other, it gets the blood pumping for me,” Chuck Miknis said.
Miknis coached various sports at Pennfield for 27 years, last leading the boys’ basketball program in 2009. During his 22 years as the head coach for the Pennfield boys’ basketball program, Miknis went 359-207.
Miknis also coached for four years at Lincoln Alcona where he went 75-16, giving him over 400 total wins and putting him among the elite in Michigan historically.
Miknis stayed on at Pennfield after stepping down as a coach and was still teaching at the school until last spring, before announcing his retirement.
“When he retired at the end of last year, he kind of went out the door quietly. Not sure everyone even knew he was going to do it at the time and we didn’t really do a retirement party for him. So we wanted to take a little time and honor him this way at the game,” said current Pennfield boys’ basketball coach Steve Grimes, who was a longtime assistant coach under Miknis before taking over the top Pennfield job.
“Chuck has been a good friend and a great mentor for me. He was one of the coaches you just don’t see anymore — the kind that coach for 30 years and really put their life into the game.”
With his son as the coach at Delton Kellogg, Miknis has watched a lot of D-K games this season. But he has also spent time in the Pennfield gym, when the two teams haven’t played on the same night.
Watching his alma mater or his former team play basketball is still a fun night out for Miknis. And that should be taken to another level as he takes the court once again at halftime of the varsity boys’ basketball game tonight to be honored.
“It was always a good rivalry game for me when I was coaching,” Chuck Miknis said. “Now, it’s a little bit tougher for me to go to these games just to watch, compared to when I was coaching, because I have to remember to keep my mouth shut.
“I’m usually pretty good for a little bit, but when the game gets going and it gets tighter, my mouth gets going. I have to remind myself to shut up.”
Miknis will be honored for his years as a teacher tonight. It goes without saying, as he stands at midcourt in the gym he helped bring about with the building of the new school, the same recognition will come his way tonight for all of his years coaching.
And as friends and family and former players gather from Delton Kellogg and Pennfield, it will once again be a big game for Miknis.
“I’ve had a lot of good memories at Pennfield. It will be nice to be recognized. And for them to say something about what you have done there and maybe appreciate some of the things you did, maybe give me a clock or something for my retirement, that will be great,” Chuck Miknis said.
“But the best thing is that it will brings back some good memories. I think it will be fun.”