Norm Kane now has all the time in the world to drive down Interstate 15 and watch his grandchildren play sports at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
Kane, who coached local athletes over the course of six decades, retired from his teaching and administrative duties in 2010 but continued to coach girls basketball from 2012 until this season.
But on Jan. 24 he announced he was stepping away from coaching too. He was honored during a pregame ceremony in the Idaho Fall High School gym before the Tigers’ 52-43 loss to Pocatello.
“At the age of 75, I decided it was time to leave the system,” Kane said.
Kane leaves behind a basketball system that taught fairness, understanding and the basic fundamentals of the sport. A Hawaii native, Kane began coaching at Snake River High School in 1968 before becoming a football, basketball and track coach at Firth High School in 1972.
In 1978, he took an assistant coaching position for all three sports at Idaho Falls and never looked back.
He said he eventually stuck with basketball because he “enjoyed staying warm and comfortable.”
As the Tigers’ head girls basketball coach, Kane helped Idaho Falls become a yearly state contender in the late 1980s, coaching the Tigers to eight straight state tournaments.
He coached three of his daughters and continued his involvement with the program as the freshman and junior varsity coach from 2012 to now.
A member of the Idaho Falls High School community for 41 years, Kane also helped with student government, the Tigers’ athletic department and officiating volleyball and softball games.
Randy Hurley, an assistant and close friend of Kane’s since the 1980s, remembers Kane as a “thoughtful, big-picture guy.” Kane’s practices were strict and regimented with conditioning, passing and dribbling, Hurley said, but he always had respect for his players.
“He was an excellent teacher and just a solid man,” Hurley said. “He would look at the whole person, not just the athlete. He loved those kids and would always do the very best for them.”
Hurley added that Kane was the “face of Idaho Falls athletics” during Kane’s time as the program’s athletic director.
“It’s been a great few decades,” Hurley said.
Away from the public eye, Kane said he will look to spend more time with his grandchildren and his wife.
“There were so many highlights in my career as a teacher, athletic director, administration and coach,” Kane said. “All the kids that I coached ... I just always tried to understand everybody.”