As first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Baik will take over for longtime coach Harvey Kitani, who was 773-273 with the Lions, including two state titles, since 1981. Kitani will be the new basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Rolling Hills Prep in San Pedro, Calif., where two of his sons played basketball.
“I have been teaching for 36 years,” Kitani told USA TODAY. “I am retiring from teaching. I waited this late in the year to announce this because I wanted to find the right replacement. It’s just worked out with Steve being 36 and the national coach of the year, the USA TODAY coach of the year and the job he’s done at Chino Hills. I couldn’t be happier that he will be the new basketball coach at Fairfax for years to come.”
Baik, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, announced May 6 that he was leaving Chino Hills in search of another physical education teaching position because he was missing too much time with his family while having to commute from his home in Altadena to Chino. At the time, he said he was looking for a “perfect situation” that would allow him to teach and continue coaching, but he was not sure he would find one.
His commute to Fairfax is shorter, roughly 22 miles compared to the 35 miles he drove to Chino Hills.
The report comes on the day that Chino Hills is celebrating its championship season and Baik and UCLA-bound Lonzo Ball were to receive individual awards. Ball was selected as the ALL-USA Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Kitani said he hopes to coach for another 10 years at Rolling Hills Prep and to make it into a Super 25-level team. He said he knows how difficult a job Baik did this past season.
“I’ve known him for the past three or four years,” Kitani said. “I have seem him grow and mature. To have the kind of season he had this year, no one knows and understands how difficult a year it can be with a full teaching load and coaching and playing in so many events. I admire that and that his team got better as the year went on.”