Kaman and son keep coaching tradition going
No one guessed that a change of scenery for one family turned into a basketball dynasty for an entire time.
Tim Kaman first came to Fredericksburg when his father, Dennis Kaman, took over as Fredericksburg High School’s head boys’ basketball coach in 1984-1985 after a stint at Lee High School in Tyler.
The long-time coach just ended his 29th year of coaching, which includes 23 seasons as the Billies’ head boys’ basketball coach and it was eventful, if anything.
The Billies made their ninth straight postseason trip, which Kaman sandwiched in between fall and spring golf tournaments and a pair of state tournaments during his first year as the school’s head golf coach.
That’s not to mention his induction to the Schreiner University Hall of Honor in February.
“It’s been keeping me busy,” he said.
The hectic schedule hasn’t stopped the seasoned leader from maintaining the town’s lofty standards for both sports.
The family coaching tree might even continue to grow and stay rooted in Fredericksburg.
There’s a possibility that Tyler Kaman will follow both his father and late grandfather into coaching.
“I figured if my dad can coach, anyone can coach,” said Tyler Kaman, Tim Kaman’s oldest son. “I’ve learned everything from him. I kind of hope that we end up coaching together in a game. It would be sweet to beat him at his own game.”
The Lone Star Hoops camp, which Tim Kaman co-founded 32 years ago, gave Tyler Kaman his first hands-on coaching experience.
“I thought about being involved with kids — teaching them, coaching them — just because we’re at Lone Star Hoops right now and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s all about the kids and trying to get them better, seeing the smiles on their faces when they win, do a good job.
“It just can’t compare with doing a regular, every day, sit at a desk job.”
Tim Kaman practically inherited the coaching bug from his father, Dennis, who coached his sons, Tim Kaman and Tony Kaman during his five seasons in charge of FHS basketball.
“That’s why I got into it. I think I was better able to see all the things that he did,” Tim Kaman said. “Sometimes I didn’t see things as well with him being my dad until I got into coaching, what he was doing, what he tried to teach the kids.
“When I really look back, he had a huge impact. Some of it, some of the things that I do, just from watching him … I learned that’s the way it’s done.”
He started out as a business major at Schreiner, but one economics class led him into the education department.
FHS basketball once again became a family affair when Tim Kaman coached Tyler Kaman from 2013-2017. He’s coached his other son, Matt Kaman, for the past three seasons, with one more to go in 2018-2019.
It wasn’t always smooth — Tim Kaman said multiple times he wishes he could go back and do things differently — but he understands that it’s not always easy being a coach’s son.
“I played for my dad, and my brother played for my dad,” Tim Kaman said. “People don’t understand. They think coaches’ sons get this, get that. Perks here, perks there. That’s really not the case.”
“For me, when we came here my senior year … Dad did a great job of building this program. After the first 10 games, I’m averaging 28 points a game.
“Most of the team thinks I’m only playing because my dad’s the coach. I had to duck fights. I came home with a busted lip.”
Hall of fame recognition
A hall of fame induction even turned into a family affair between father and his oldest son.
Tim Kaman earned a spot in Schreiner University’s Athletic Hall of Honor this spring based on his athletic accomplishments at the college and throughout his non-playing career.
Tyler Kaman’s persistent contribution helped the former Mountaineers hoopster, who played from 1985-1989, a spot among the university’s most accomplished athletes.
“He’s the one who nominated me,” Tim Kaman said. “I was kind of proud that he did that. He never saw me play.”
Tim Kaman said that his son used to doubt his father’s ability, but a quick visit to Schreiner University turned his son into a believer.
Tim ranks fourth on the school’s all-time points list with 1,530 scored from 1985-1989. He owns the school’s best career 3-point shooting percentage mark, having shot .417 percent over his four years in Kerrville.
Tim also ranks top four in career free-throw percentage, steals and assists.
“Well, I guess you were pretty good,” was Tyler’s response, according to Tim.
Now there’s proof of it, although Tim doesn’t treat it like a big deal.
“What does it take to get into a hall of fame,” Tim said. “I’ve been trying to get my father (Dennis) into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame, but it’s all about wins. I never thought anything about (getting into the Schreiner Hall of Honor), but it’s cool that Tyler did that.”
Tyler Kaman is already following in his father’s footsteps as a collegiate athlete.
The 2017 FHS graduate walked on the Tyler Junior College golf team and produced instant results by finishing eighth in the National Junior College Association of America’s Division II national golf championships in May at Foley, Alabama.
The high finish earned first team All-American status for a golfer who played without a scholarship.
“I really did not think (that was going to happen),” Tyler said. “My coach took a shot in the dark with me and I came out really late in the summer, three or four weeks before registration. He gave me a chance and when the fall season came along, it was really rough. But when the spring came, I really turned it up a bit and got focused. I ended up playing a lot better golf in the spring.”
Tyler Kaman still wants to play his way onto a four-year college golf squad — preferably NCAA Division I — and play a few years on the Web.com tour with the hopes of earning his PGA card.