When Lynden Christian's famed Curt De Haan announced his retirement as the girls' basketball coach in mid-March, Brady Bomber wasn't entirely sure if he was ready to throw his name in the hat.
It took time and reflection, he said in a phone interview, but eventually he believed himself ready to, if hired, take on the duties De Haan so admirably performed for 34 consecutive years in the position.
But how, without any prior head coaching experience, would he sell himself as the best candidate? It's a question he wondered beginning the interview process.
"I just stressed my passion for the game, and my love for high school basketball," he said. "I've had the fortune to play for a lot of good coaches ... and I stressed I was willing to put the work in."
The rest, he said, was up to the committee.
A phone number popped up from an unknown number, the voice on the other end saying that he was, in fact, the man for the job.
Bomber, a graduate of Lynden High School in 2008, accepted it with one overarching goal: "I wanted to find a way to serve the kids in the community through basketball."
De Haan, who will continue in his position as Lynden Christian's athletic director, pointed to the servant-leader mentality of Bomber that caught him during the process of hiring his replacement.
"Very mature. High Christian ethics and morals. He relates real well with the student athletes," De Haan said in a phone interview, "and with that we believe he will have a tremendous impact on the players."
His basketball I.Q., De Haan added, was an enticing aspect to Bomber, as well.
Bomber, a standout basketball player for Lynden, helped lead the Lions to a 2007 state basketball championship before eventually going to play at Saint Martin's University.
As a Saint, Bomber's best years came in his junior and senior seasons when he averaged 4.8 and 6.8 points per game, respectively. He was the team leader in assists both years, posting 4.7 a game as a junior and 4.2 as a senior, speaking to his overall court knowledge.
"He has a great analytical mind, and he played as a tough competitor with a lot of grit and determination," De Haan said. "There's a lot of qualities in him that we saw that we think will help him be real successful in this position."
In terms of success, following in De Haan's footsteps isn't necessarily something Bomber said he's concerned with.
After all, replacing the winningest high school girls' basketball coach in the state fresh of his eighth championship isn't a feat many would relish. Perspective in such a case, Bomber said, is key.
"I'm not the next Curt De Haan. He's one of a kind," Bomber said. "I can't go in trying to be (him). He's a great resource for me, too. One thing is I'm going to put more pressure on myself than anybody else. That's what drives me."
It's his team to captain, De Haan finished with, and he'll be there if needed. Bomber added that De Haan is a source he will most certainly use, and what a source to have.
"De Haan is such an incredible coach, leader and a man, and to follow in his footsteps is an honor," he said.
Reach Alex Bigelow at email@example.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.