By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
GRAND HAVEN — Grand Haven High School sorted out its options and ended up hiring an old Buccaneer player as its interim boys’ varsity basketball coach.
Bob Eidson, the girls’ varsity basketball coach at one time and for many years the boys’ junior varsity coach, accepted the position Wednesday. He had moved to Grand Haven as a high school student in April 1968 and played for the Buccaneers after his family moved from Fostoria, Ohio.
Eidson, 63, replaced an old friend, the late Steve Hewitt as coach. Hewitt, 50, died in early July, and the two had coached together since Hewitt had become the boys’ varsity basketball coach for the 2005-06 season.
“They had a lot interest from local people, but I think the goal of the administrative people was to try and keep some continuity of what was going on,” Eidson said.
He said he interviewed for the position announced recently in an internal posting to the district’s staff Tuesday and accepted the position after meeting with the ninth, junior varsity and varsity teams Wednesday.
“This is a different situation,” Eidson said. “Steve was a very close friend. It’s a chance to give back a little bit. I’m not in this for the long run.”
He said he has helped coaching basketball in some capacity since being a volunteer assistant with Grand Haven’s ninth grade team during the 1971-72 school year.
Eidson, a Grand Valley State University graduate, served as the girls varsity coach from 1979 through 1986 and the boys junior varsity coach every year since then except for one year. He retired as a teacher in the Grand Haven system five years ago.
He inherits the nucleus from last year’s 9-12 Buccaneer varsity and the players coming up from a 14-6 junior varsity team last year.
Eidson will be doing double-duty in a way. His youngest son Alex will be a junior on the Hope College men’s basketball team.
He said the district is still recovering from the loss of two key athletic staff members. The late Robin Bye served as athletic director until succumbing to a lingering health condition in the spring and then Hewitt’s death added another blow.
“We’ve been hit pretty hard here,” Eidson said.
Grand Haven has 17 boys’ basketball games scheduled so far. Eidson said as of now the opener would be a Dec. 12 non-league game at Mona Shores.