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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Daven Harmeling resigns as King’s Way Christian boys basketball coach

Head coach guided the Knights to eight consecutive state tournament trips in 10 seasons

By , Columbian staff writer

Daven Harmeling is stepping down as King’s Way Christian’s boys basketball coach, concluding a 10-year run that saw the Knights become a premier small-school program in Washington.

The team announced the move on its social media accounts Monday, citing Harmeling’s desire to focus on his job as the school’s advancement administrator and spend more time with his wife and two young daughters.

Harmeling, who had a career 166-78 record in 10 seasons as head coach, guided the Knights to eight consecutive state tournament appearances in Yakima, highlighted by a second-place finish in 2019 when the No. 11-seeded Knights won three straight games to reach the Class 1A state championship game.

King’s Way also won seven league championships and three district championships in that span, including the 1A District 4 championship in February.

“His list of basketball accomplishments pale in comparison to his character and leadership that Daven displays in and out of the gym,” assistant coach Justin Tigner wrote in a post on the team’s social media accounts.

“He will be missed as the head coach, but we are looking forward to the future of King’s Way boys basketball because of the foundation that Daven Harmeling has put in place.”

When he took over the King’s Way program 10 years ago, Harmeling recalled having a fire and competitive spirit the job required. He played college basketball at Washington State from 2004-09 first under Dick Bennett and later, his son Tony Bennett, who then became head coach at Virginia and won an NCAA Championship with the Cavaliers in 2019.

In part because of them, Harmeling was inspired to pursue coaching after his playing career ended. He was named head coach at King’s Way in 2013.

Yet in the past few years while balancing coaching, multiple administrative roles at the school and being present for his family, Harmeling said he felt like he was being pulled in too many different directions.

“I’ve really become aware of how finite my time and energy is,” Harmeling told The Columbian on Monday.

“I almost felt like I was just kind of being mediocre at everything and everybody involved in all those different roles, whether it’s my family on the home front, people here at school or the boys on the basketball team, all those people deserve somebody to be all in.”

This past season, King’s Way won Trico League and district titles before advancing to the Yakima Valley SunDome for the state Round of 12, where the Knights lost to King’s to finish the season 16-9.

On Thursday, Harmeling gathered the entire program for a meeting to tell players about his departure.

“(I) was definitely at peace with it and I still am very much at peace with it, but it wasn’t until right before I walked into that room that it really kind of hit me in an emotional way,” he said. “The meeting was good, I was really honest with the guys. It’s one of those moments where you never know what it’s going to feel like. It kind of makes my stomach churn thinking about the guys coming and how exciting it’d be to continue coaching them, but just knowing that it’s not fair for me to continue to do that.”

Ty Johnson, who served as an assistant coach under Harmeling, has been named the Knights’ interim head coach and will be a candidate for the job on a permanent basis, Harmeling said.

Although Harmeling is stepping away from the Knights’ boys basketball program, he said he remains “all in” at King’s Way. In fact, after 10 seasons on the sidelines, Harmeling is looking forward to attending King’s Way games as a spectator watching from the stands with his family.

“I cannot wait to be a fan at a game,” Harmeling said.

With Monday’s news, two Clark County basketball coaches have resigned in the past week. Blake Conley, Union’s boys basketball head coach since 2013, announced on March 15 his plans to step down after 10 seasons with the Titans.

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