Polfus steps down at C-N
CARNEY — After 11 years at the helm of the Carney-Nadeau boys’ basketball program, coach Jacob Polfus announced he is stepping down through a resignation letter to the school May 2.
Polfus’s tenure at Carney was a successful one, finishing with a 169-75 record and leading the Wolves to district titles in 2012 and 2018. He led them to a 23-3 record, a regional title and a state semifinal appearance in 2012.
“Winning the district and going downstate are two moments I’ll never forget,” Polfus said.
“Another thing that sticks out is being at practice and getting the most out of our kids. Almost all the kids who played for us reached their potential.”
Polfus led the Wolves to three straight Skyline Central Conference titles between 2010 and 2012. They won the district title on their home floor in 2018, knocking off North Central before falling to Dollar Bay in the regional final.
Last season the Wolves went 14-7 and fell at North Central in their district opener.
Asked why he decided to step down, Polfus cited family time and needing a change.
“A lot of it had to do with family because I have two kids. One is seven now and the other is two. When you don’t get to see them much during the season it’s hard,” he said.
“I just needed a change, I guess. I’ve been doing a lot of basketball training with college kids and younger high school kids. I’ve been doing that for a while and we’ll see what happens with it.”
Polfus has been contemplating this decision for a couple years.
“I think about it almost every year lately because of my kids getting older. It just seemed like the right time. Something clicked and it just felt like now was the time,” Polfus said.
He began coaching in 2008, taking over for his father, Paul Polfus, who coached from 1996-2008. He had a 170-113 record in that span, leading C-N to four Central U.P. Conference titles.
Paul Polfus has been coaching the jayvee team since then, and he also announced his resignation last week.
He coached the C-N girls’ program from 1979-2005, posting a 501-125 record in 27 seasons.
“It was kind of his own decision .. we only had six kids on the jayvee team. That kind of frustrated him because he likes when kids put the time in. He’s been around the game for so long so he needed a break too,” Jacob Polfus said.
The younger Polfus said coaching with his dad was one of the main highlights of coaching.
“Getting to coach with him is another highlight .. just being able to share moments with him. Lots of our success at the varsity level came from him. He’s truly the best around at focusing on not winning and losing, but developing kids at the jayvee level,” Jacob Polfus said.
Despite his success, Jacob Polfus said his favorite part of coaching was the relationships he built with his players.
“The accomplishments were great, but the thing I’m most proud of is the relationship I’ve had with kids that have played for me. I have lots of former players I can still sit down and talk to,” he said.
“I’ve always thought we were one of the most hard-working teams around. We were never the biggest or fastest team, but somehow we always managed to come out with a winning record. We just kind of did our own thing. Carney basketball is known for being unique and different. We’re known for shooting a lot of threes and we like getting out to run. We like to be known for something.”
Asked about a possible return to coaching, Jacob Polfus said it’s possible.
“I think so. I think once my kids get a little bit older I could see myself doing it again,” he said. “I love being around basketball. It was easier to step away now because this training is going good. I could definitely see myself getting back into it someday.”
He also stated he wants to be part of the process to help C-N find a coach who can build off his success.
“I kind of want to be a part of it to make sure the program still has success. In a small community it’s hard to find someone who wants to put the time into it,” he said.