PROVO — In terms of using the force in "Star Wars," it would be considered submitting to the dark side when Timpview High announced the hiring of Provo graduate Kevin Santiago as the new boys basketball coach.
"That was part of the question that we asked him," Timpview athletic director Al Polland quipped. "That's like vinegar and oil — those two usually don't mix."
However, after a series of interviews with a committee comprised of players, parents, administration and faculty reps, Santiago was deemed the right candidate to replace Perry Wildeboer, who resigned after 14 years in late March.
"In the interview process he showed a lot of vision and energy and was really, really convincing to the committee that he was the guy that could take us from where we were forward," Polland said. "We kind of view it as a pretty darn successful program that needed some certain things that were missing in the program. Based on those criteria that we were looking for in the interview, we were pretty convinced that he had those type of things."
The Thunderbirds were 240-79 under Wildeboer, and won state titles in 2000, 2003 and 2010, but Timpview sought to address other areas with the hiring of Santiago.
"We've had a lot of success on the court," Polland said, "but we've had some issues with working with other programs, being better in the public, reaching out to our younger kids coming through — those kind of things. We needed some very definite improvement in those areas."
Santiago played guard at BYU from 1988-92. He's since spent several years coaching AAU programs and joined the Timpview staff last year as an assistant. This is his first head coaching position.