Boys basketball: Huntley hires alum Collin Kalamatas to take over as head coach

Kalamatas takes over for Will Benson, who resigned in May to accept Stevenson job

Collin Kalamatas would have been completely satisfied with returning to Huntley as a boys assistant basketball coach on Will Benson’s staff.

Now, instead of rejoining Benson’s staff, Kalamatas is taking it over.

Benson resigned last month to take the head coaching position and teach PE at Stevenson. Kalamatas, a 2005 Huntley graduate who teaches PE at his alma mater, jumped at the chance to become the Red Raiders’ head coach.

“When [Benson] stepped away, I had always dreamed about it but never thought it was going to be a possibility,” Kalamatas said. “I put a ton of effort into the interview process and presenting myself to the people that were making that decision and was fortunate enough to come away with it.”

Kalamatas was announced as the new coach Friday morning. He worked as Benson’s assistant for two seasons before coaching Woodstock’s girls for one season, then at Burlington Central as girls coach for the past four seasons.

Kalamatas, 36, has been Huntley’s boys golf coach for the past seven years. He taught PE at District 158′s Marlowe Middle School for six years and has been at the high school for seven years.

To get head coaching experience, Kalamatas looked outside the district.

“It’s crazy, the timing of it all,” Kalamatas said. “I got my years of experience as a head coach somewhere else, and this opened up when I’m at the age I’m at. When Will went for this eight years ago, I had no shot of being considered for it. I never knew when it was going to open again.

“The fact that it opened at this point in my life, when I’m as prepared as I can be to start this journey, it’s crazy, the timing of everything. I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity.”

Benson took over after the Raiders had a highly successful eight-year run under Marty Manning, who left to become Schaumburg’s athletic director. Benson’s first four teams were 32-85, but the Raiders have a .702 winning percentage over his last four seasons. Huntley was 27-7, 10-4, 27-6 and 22-11 in those years.

Kalamatas is the fourth of five children who played sports at Huntley. He played two seasons of basketball at McHenry County College and started his coaching career as a volunteer on Manning’s staff after college. He also worked on girls coach Steve Raethz’s staff, then went back to the boys staff.

“Collin’s experience, and engagement of students, blends well with the tenor and culture of our boys basketball program,” Huntley AD Glen Wilson said. “We look forward to his leadership, his perspective as an HHS basketball alum and his zeal to help our students grow and develop.”

Kalamatas and his wife, Jen, have a son, Calvin (7), and a daughter, Addy (4). He said the rest of the Raiders’ coaching staff will return intact.

Benson was not looking for coaching jobs but said a chance at the Stevenson job was too good to pass up. The timing was perfect for Kalamatas.

“I never thought Will would be out of the picture,” Kalamatas said. “A young coach, he’s done a great job turning the program around. He had young kids. When I stepped down at Burlington, it was mainly to get myself back in the district [as a coach]. My kids are going to school here, and I was planning on being an assistant with Will this year.

“We have a ton of great talent coming through. To take over a program that is in good shape and something I’ve looked up to a long time, as a kid growing up in the district and a kid who played there and a coach who’s coached there, to get this opportunity, it would be stupid to pass it up.”

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