Harmeling’s Knights won seven league titles and went to the state tournament eight times
It is simple to just look at the results, the trophies from the state tournament, the consecutive state tournament appearances.
Daven Harmeling accomplished quite a lot in his 10 years as the head coach for the King’s Way Christian boys basketball team.
For him, the results are nothing compared to the relationships.
“It’s been an extension of my family,” Harmeling said Monday afternoon after the school put out the word that he has resigned from his coaching position.
“Those guys I’ve coached over the last 10 years, it’s so cool to see what they’ve gone on to do with their lives. To see that King’s Way is still home to them means a lot to me. A lot of great memories,” Harmeling said.
He added that as a coach, he hoped he could provide a good example to the teens. But in so many instances, it was the teens who provided lasting impressions.
“I could list off name after name of kids that I thought, ‘Who else gets to coach a kid like this? Some of the best kids I’ve ever been around,” Harmeling said. “It’s been a blessing for sure.”
Harmeling’s Knights missed out on going to the state tournament in his first year as head coach. The Knights have made it to the Yakima Valley SunDome every tournament that has been held since that first year.
Yes, eight consecutive final site appearances in the state tournament. That includes a 7-0 record in state regional elimination games in order to make it to the round of 12.
Harmeling said the next wave of Knights looks promising, too.
“The future of the program is very bright,” he said. “It’s time for someone to come in and devote more of themselves than what I can do at this time.”
Harmeling told his players last week and sent an email to the basketball families.
“Over the years, many aspects of my job and family life have changed and grown. Some of those changes involved going from teaching to administration as well as experiencing the joy of a growing family,” Harmeling wrote. “In the last few years, I have become more aware of the reality that my time and energy is finite. In turn, I have experienced a growing tension between the time and focus of my administrative work at KW, my responsibilities as a husband and father, and leading the basketball program.”
Something had to give, and it was coaching. Harmeling said he is “all in” with King’s Way Christian. He said he will resume his role within the school’s administration.
He and Haley, his wife, have two daughters. Haley works full time as well. Harmeling wrote that it is time for him to learn how to cook more than quesadillas and do more than slice apples for the girls.
He said whoever becomes the next head coach will be getting the best job in the county.
“The parents have just been fantastic,” Harmeling said. “I’m very aware of what a blessing it is to coach here. Good players, high-end talent, and the parents have been supportive. A good gig for sure.”
Harmeling went 166-78 in his 10 years leading the Knights. That included seven Trico League titles and three district championships. The Knights placed in the state tournament three times, including a second-place finish in 2019.
Top Coaches Leaving at Same Time
Harmeling’s announcement comes around the same time that Blake Conley stepped away as the head coach of the Union boys basketball team.
Both coached for 10 seasons. Both missed going to state in their first years. And both went to state every year since then. (Oh, and both had quality teams during the abbreviated season during the pandemic. No state tournament, but both teams likely would have made it to state that season.)
It turns out, the eight consecutive trips to state are tied for the most for a boys basketball program from Clark County. According to WIAA archives, La Center made it to state five consecutive years in the 1990s. Washougal did it five years in a row in the 1970s. And Fort Vancouver made it to state five consecutive years in the 1950s.
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