When the final buzzer sounded after Whitney Young's 97-65 dismantling of Riverside-Brookfield in the high school boys' Class 4A basketball state playoffs last year, the Bulldogs' coveted head coach position officially became available.
Of course, that's just hoops semantics.
Essentially, the decision was already made. A fait accompli.
More importantly, the right coach was picked to succeed highly likable and successful Tom McCloskey.
Mike Reingruber, who has coached the RBHS sophomore squad the past 16 years and served as a longtime varsity assistant under McCloskey, is the new head coach of the RBHS boys varsity basketball team.
Reingruber was the only candidate considered for the job. Dan Herbeck, McCloskey's other top varsity assistant, did not apply for the position. McCloskey wrote a letter of recommendation endorsing Reingruber for the job.
Named the new head coach of the boys varsity basketball team at RBHS after the District 208 school board voted unanimously on April 11 to give him the job, Reingruber is thrilled to take on his dream job.
"It feels great," Reingruber said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity and excited about moving forward."
Based on Reingruber's accomplishments and passion for RBHS basketball, the choice was a slam dunk.
"Mike had the unanimous support of the coaching staff on board," said co-interim Assistant Principal for Athletics John Treiber.
Reingruber coached the sophomore team to 15 consecutive conference titles and amassed 303 wins against 86 losses. The sophomore squad finished 22-2 this past season.
Reingruber also has developed and organized one of the premier summer high school team tournaments in the state of Illinois, held at RBHS the first weekend of June. Largely due to Reingruber's dedication and vision, RBHS is regarded as the hotbed for summer high school hoops.
He's created and oversees the RB Bulldogs Basketball feeder program for 4th-8th grade traveling teams, the 8th annual Sophomore Summer League at RBHS, and the 8th annual RBHS 7th and 8th Grade Summer League.
Impressive credentials aside, I applaud the hiring of Reingruber simply based on the eyeball test. Covering high school sports for over 20 years, I've entered countless high school gyms and caught fourth-quarter action of sophomore basketball games. The early arrival is to get my clipboard, game notes, laptop ready for the ensuing varsity game.
Reingruber's sophomore basketball teams are the only ones, however, that interested me enough to put the preparation material aside and just enjoy lower level basketball.
What can I say, I am a sucker for entertaining basketball regardless of age group.
Watching those sophomore games, I became familiar with future RBHS varsity stars like Chris Parrish, Dan Oswald, Damonta Henry, Will Kincanon, Sam Johnson and Jalen Clanton. I appreciated how those teams always played hard and fair until the final buzzer.
And I definitely noticed how Reingruber comported himself along the sideline. He's competitive but composed, organized but creative. When I watch Reingruber, I see a coach who is in control. The kids buy in which is immeasurable to success.
I remember thinking multiple times, Mike Reingruber is the future leader of Bulldogs basketball. Fundamentally, he will stay true to the recipe of winning McCloskey established but assuredly add some wrinkles of his own.
In a recent interview with the Landmark, Reingruber reasserted his love for the Riverside-Brookfield community and RBHS.
"I grew up here. I bleed blue and white. This is something that, obviously, means a lot to me and is very special to me."
Twenty five years ago, McCloskey probably felt the same way when he accepted the job.
Like McCloskey back in the day, Reingruber is the right man for the job now.
The coaching tradition continues.