KENT CITY, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent City coach David Ingles is known in West Michigan basketball circles for his choice of colorful pants on game nights.
"It started out as a bet I lost," he said, laughing.
He's also known for his knowledge of the game.
"He's a high energetic person," senior guard Eli Carlson said. "The love of the game just oozes off of him. He's a great coach. The best I've ever had. We love him."
Like many coaches, Ingles' career on the sidelines began as a player when he was a kid.
"I've been in a gym since I can walk," Ingles said. "I've had a ball in my hand forever. I'd even be out in the snow shooting."
He was a two-time all-state selection at Lakeview High School and earned a scholarship to Cornerstone University. He was in line for a starting spot after his freshman season, but like so many good athletes, an injury derailed his future on the court.
"After a practice, I'd have to go to my dorm room and lay down," Ingles said. "Getting up the next day was almost impossible."
Ingles had a bulging disc in his back. It eventually forced him to the sidelines for good. While he tried to heal physically, he poured his life into coaching. Along that journey, he met his wife Pam. Their daughter Marleigh was born in 2007.
In 2012, as the head coach and dean of students at Muskegon Catholic Central, Ingles helped guide the Crusaders through a Cinderella run to the state final four.
"I had made it. That's the mecca of high school basketball," Ingles said. "If I'm going to coach high school, then I'm going to get to the Breslin (Center)."
But all the while, his back was getting worse. The bulging disc ruptured. Surgery, pain medication and physical therapy were not helping.
Ingles could not keep a full-time job. Over time, it wasn't just pain in his back he was fighting.