By AUSTIN HEMMINGSON Escanaba Daily Press

CARNEY — Surprise, surprise.

Almost two weeks after Jacob Polfus announced his resignation as the head coach of the Carney-Nadeau boys’ basketball program, former coach Paul Polfus is coming back to take over the reigns. The move was approved at the school’s board meeting May 15.

Paul Polfus, father of Jacob, also recently resigned from the jayvee position at Carney. He said his resignation at the jayvee position was mostly due to a lack of numbers, and that he came back to coach the varsity because he doesn’t want to see the program go downhill. He’s also still the athletic director at C-N.

“The resignation from the jayvee program had nothing to do with coaching. It was more to do with kids not being here for practice. It was kind of hit and miss. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it,” Paul Polfus said.

“When this opened up again, we were void in varsity and jayvee, so rather than let the program go in complete transition, I’d like to do it for at least a year and see how that works. If we can get somebody into the jayvee position and enter into that spot, maybe that will work out. Maybe Jake will get the itch to come back and want to do that again, and hopefully that does happen again.”

The elder Polfus brings an impressive resume back to the varsity position. He was the girls’ coach at C-N from 1979-2005, posting a 501-125 record and three Class D state championships in ‘89, ‘90 and ‘01. He also coached the boys from from 1996-2008 before Jacob Polfus took over, going 170-113 and winning four Central U.P. Conference titles. He’s been the jayvee coach since.

Despite the accomplishments, Paul Polfus says he’s learned a lot from coaching underneath his son.

“I feel very fortunate to have been beneath Jake and watched how he coached the varsity team, and the different things he did with his kids,” he said. “I think the longer you’ve coached you realize what you don’t know about different kinds of things. When you first come in, you think you know everything. I’ve learned a lot from him and watching how he did things, especially his detail and the amount of work he put into it. Hopefully, I can build off a lot of the things that he did.”

He’s excited to see what he can get out of a Wolves’ team that went 14-7 a year ago and brings everyone back.

“The kids I’ll have next year were on my jayvee team a year or two ago. I feel sort of a responsibility to keep the program going. I’m excited about it — I’m excited about seeing where that road goes,” he said.

“There’s a lot of experience coming back from last year’s team to this year’s team. How that filters over to what I do, you never know for sure. I’m excited about the possibilities, just like I’d be excited about the possibilities with any team. Really, all I look for is the work ethic, and I think Jake has instilled that into a lot of these kids already. They know to get to where they need to they have to work hard. Jake’s put a lot of things into place with this team that I can build on or use. I think there’s some good possibilities out there for us.”

Paul Polfus doesn’t think the transition back to being a varsity coach will be a huge one.

“I sat on the bench as Jake’s assistant last year being the jayvee coach and doing that. All the practices were with him because we did our practices together for a numbers thing. I think it should fit in pretty well, but it’ll be a little different. There’s more detailed things that go into it,” he said.

He knows he wants to coach the team for at least one year, but after that it remains to be seen.

“Obviously, I’ve coached for a lot of years,” he said. “I enjoy the head coaching part of it and I enjoy the assistant coaching part of it. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this, and if it works out the way that I envision, maybe I would stay longer. All of those things are always possible, I just want some continuity for the program so it moves on.”