Mike Kuba said his gut was aching all day Wednesday after he finally made his decision to step down as Jefferson's baseball coach.
"I still have a gut ache," Kuba said Wednesday night.
But that pain is expected to be eased by the time next spring rolls around and Kuba gets the chance to work with his daughter, Erin, and the Jefferson softball team.
Kuba resigned his post as baseball coach to become an assistant coach on new Jefferson softball coach Brian Erbe's staff.
"I'm leaving a great program and a great group of kids," Kuba said. "This is nothing I sought after and that's what I told my team when I met with them.
"But part of our program and something I firmly believe in is family and after 17 years it was time for me to move in that direction, especially with what we've gone through the past year."
Kuba's daughter Erin, a freshman, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last May. She underwent surgery to remove her thyroid and had radiated iodine treatments over the summer. She had her last treatment Aug. 10 and a full body cancer scan last Friday.
"We got the results Monday," Mike Kuba said. "There still is an isolated area of concern around where her thyroid was, but we'll go another six months and check it again. Then we'll get yearly checkups after that."
The chance to work with Erin and younger daughter Emily, as well as Erbe, was too much for Kuba to pass up.
"Brian called me shortly after he was hired and asked me if I would come on board," said Kuba, who like Erbe is a facilitator for at-risk students at Jefferson. "We have worked together and been good friends for 18 years.
"I told him when that I became a head coach, I was going to hire him as one of my assistants and I tried to get him on the baseball staff, but it never worked out. We share the same philosophies and have similar coaching styles. I think it will be an enjoyable working relationship with the ultimate goal to keep producing a winning program."
Kuba was on the Jefferson baseball staff for 17 years, the last seven as the head coach. Erbe spent the last 10 years as Xavier's head coach after serving on former coach Larry Niemeyer's staff as an assistant for 10 years.
Kuba started his coaching career as an assistant softball coach at Linn-Mar, a job he held for two years before joining the Jeff baseball program.
"That was my first coaching gig and I took it because there was nothing available in baseball," he said.
Kuba is taking the plunge back into softball this fall and spring, coaching daughter Emily's 12U Blue Devils team. He said the family also will be busy weekends into November with Erin's traveling softball team, the Barracudas, who will be playing in college showcases in locales such as St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago.
"It's just another chapter," Kuba said. "Doors like these don't open very often."
Kuba's departure leaves a door open for another coach to take over the baseball program.
"We are not leaving the cupboard bare," Kuba said. "The baseball program is going to be young, with a handful of seniors. But there's a larger handful of juniors and some eighth graders - like Spencer Van Scoyoc - who are going to be freshmen that may have to be pushed along. It's going to be exciting.
"I've also been thinking about all the players we've had over the past 17 years," he said, ticking off a half dozen names. "It's just a whirlwind of neat memories for me.
"That's what's making my gut ache."
Jefferson Athletics Director Chris Deam said in a statement that the J-Hawks will begin an immediate search to find a new baseball coach.
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