Irv Dieterle is a hard act to follow.
The former Westwood High School boys basketball coach posted a 430-201 overall record in 28 seasons at WHS before retiring a second time in September of 2007.
Dieterle led the Patriots to a pair of state semifinal appearances in 1994 in Class B and 2003 in Class C.
He took the Patriots to nine conference, 10 district, four regional and two quarterfinal titles during his tenure.
Dieterle IS the face of WHS basketball and still attends many Westwood home games as a spectator.
Ryan Reichel, on the other hand, coached the Patriot boys' team the last three seasons, gong 14-47 overall and 5-14 this past season.
A 2003 WHS graduate who played and coached under Dieterle, Reichel officially submitted his resignation March 7 after school officials told him to use Dieterle as a mentor "however he saw fit."
Reichel, 29, declined, deciding he was "not the right fit" to continue coaching the Patriots' team with Dieterle sharing many of the school's varsity boys basketball duties.
It's not that Reichel and Dieterle do not like each other. On the contrary, Reichel cherishes the time he spent playing for - and coaching with - Dieterle years ago and has called the latter for advice.
The legendary coach, meanwhile, considers Reichel "like a son."
But like any young coach who has worked hard and spent countless hours trying to rebuild a team, Reichel wanted the Patriots to be his team, not Dieterle's.
He didn't want to coach the Patriots with Dieterle looming over his shoulder.
"I want to stand on my own two feet," Reichel said.
Both WHS officials and Reichel have valid points in this situation.
Dieterle, with his experience, basketball knowledge and coaching savvy, could help bring the WHS boys' program back to where it once was: one of the premier teams in Marquette County and the Upper Peninsula.
But it's also understandable why Reichel feels the way he does about Dieterle coming back.
After putting so much time and effort into resurrecting the WHS boys varsity program, Reichel wants control of his team and to be free to make decisions he feels best for the Patriots.
He truly believes his "five-year plan" to rebuild the Patriots is beginning to bear fruit after three seasons. To coach with someone else "mentoring" him and maybe wanting to do something different that he wants didn't appeal to him.
Thus, he decided "I wasn't right for the job at this time" and resigned.
Caught in the middle of all this is Dieterle, who no doubt only has the success of the WHS boys varsity team at heart.
Finding a replacement for Reichel might be tough, especially if WHS officials say the new coach would have to be "mentored" by Dieterle, as well.
The best scenario would be for WHS officials to hire a coach who's a "good fit" for the program and can build on what Reichel has started, and for the latter to find another coaching job that could benefit from his coaching skills.
That would be a win-win for everyone.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.