ELKHART — Kyle Sears wants to put a positive imprint on Elkhart Memorial High School boys basketball — on the court and off.
A day after his 30th birthday, the 2002 EMHS graduate was named Tuesday, June 17, as the head coach at his alma mater.
Sears immediately expressed the desire to have his Crimson Chargers play an exciting, winning brand of basketball while also being good examples in the community.
"They'll be working hard and giving it everything they have night in and night out," said Sears. "I want us to be out in the community. I want our guys to be role models.
"I'm from Elkhart. I want to see Elkhart succeed. I want to see our guys become very positive contributors to our society as well."
Memorial went 20-3 in Sears' senior season of 2001-02 and 24-2 and one win away from an appearance in the Class 4A state championship game in 2011-12 with him as an assistant.
Sears, who was an assistant for six seasons under former EMHS head coach Mark Barnhizer, does not expect to make wholesale changes to the way the Chargers did things strategically in 2013-14.
"I'm sure there will be tweaks, but you'll see some similar things," said Sears. "We're not going to completely overhaul things. We'll still try to run if we can and we want to beef up our rebounding and defense."
Sears expects familiarity to make the transition a smooth one.
"It's a very big blessing that I already know the ropes of the school and everything else," said Sears, who scored 1,417 career points while wearing a Bethel College jersey.
This summer, Sears has been working with returning players and the Chargers are scheduled to participate in a team camp later this week at Bethel College.
Sears, the 2002 winner of the Tim Bringle Memorial Award as the top senior male athlete in Elkhart Community Schools, went on to play basketball at Bethel for coach Mike Lightfoot, graduating in 2006.
The 6-foot-5 forward played for the Elkhart Express of the International Basketball League, coached by Memorial graduate Daimon Beathea.
Sears taught in Baugo Community Schools and was an assistant to Drew Ryall at Elkhart Christian Academy before moving to Memorial as a coach and mathematics teacher.
Kyle and Kara (Flemming) Sears have been married for eight years and have two children. Payton, a daughter, is 5, and Ethan, a son, is 3. They have been a fixture at Memorial basketball games.
There will be even more of a family atmosphere this season. Kyle's father, Craig — who is also Memorial's head softball coach — is the basketball team's statistician, assisted by Kyle's mother, Karen, and his sister, Allison Sears, is an assistant softball and volleyball coach at Memorial.
Sean Sears, his brother, is an assistant baseball coach at Concord High School.