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Eastern Kansas Fans Share Coaches Who Made An Impact

Eastern Kansas Fans Share Coaches Who Made An Impact

So often as it goes on social media, it was hashtagged, tweeted, and shared on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 that the day belonged nationally to coaches with “National Coaches Day”.

Let’s be honest: a majority of us probably did not know that October 6th was “National Coaches Day”. Also, just as likely, none of us knew that the day even existed.

Created in 1972 by U.S. President Richard Nixon, it states: “Coaches are highly qualified teachers – in highly specialized fields. But more than that, they are friends and counselors who help instill in their players important attitudes that will serve them all their lives.”

Regardless of what level of sports we competed in chances are good that if you played sports throughout the years of your youth, a coach made a positive impact in your life.

What’s a “positive impact”? That’s subjective. Perhaps it’s the coach who would stay after practice to help you work on a skill. Maybe it’s the coach who not only taught you the “x’s” and “o’s”, but also applied some of those lessons off the field. It could also be the coach that made the sport fun for you.

For this writer, it was former Labette County head coach Craig Hartman encouraging his team of Grizzlies to push ourselves just a bit further, harder than our last conditioning practice. To this day, I can still hear his sharp, booming voice. That coaching helped me through my last few semesters of college when “senioritis” kicked in. I never played for them in high school, but the way former LCHS, and now current Independence High School, boys basketball coach Brad Smith and current girls basketball coach Kristi Snyder glowingly talk about current and former players, as if they were proud parent figures of their student-athletes.

The thing about coaches is that some of us never played for them, but they still leave a positive impact for us to pass on in the workplace or to our children. Maybe as a fan, it’s reading “our team’s” head coach biography and taking lessons from there.

In my case as a play-by-play broadcaster, it’s Neosho County Community College baseball head coach Steve Murry saying after a ballgame “you have until midnight (to enjoy/sulk) and then it’s behind you.” Or NCCC Men’s head coach Jeremy Coombs reminding his team “Don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the low’s” in the middle of a basketball season. Or NCCC Women’s head coach J.J. Davis’s preaching “brick-by-brick”.

The impact of coaches can far reach beyond the win and loss column. We just don’t realize how deep of an impact it is until long after we’re no longer players or observers of them and their specialized field. Hopefully, we don’t take just one day out of the year to let the coaches who have left a positive impact on our lives how much we appreciate them.


We asked our social media “fans” and “followers” to share some coaches who made lasting impacts on their lives and here was just some of the responses shared.

(Follow us on twitter @EasternKSSports and “Like” us on FB “Eastern Kansas Sports“)

Coach Kimbrook Tennal ( Kim Tennal) was my inspiration! He taught me not only how to play volleyball and basketball, he taught me to never give up! He taught me how to work hard, too! I became a coach because of him! He is my inspiration!!

Donna Lierz Hill, Eastern Kansas Sports Facebook Page

Shout out to Randy Leach. A coach for many years at Prairie View High School and most recently, Head Football Coach at Jayhawk Linn. And Doug Whitcraft who Coached several sports at Prairie View for many years. I watched them not only teach the games to many young adults, but more importantly, life lessons on the field and in the classroom.

Cameron Johnston, Eastern Kansas Sports Facebook Page

Hands down in my life, Chris Hewitt in junior high bball at South Hutchinson. Thanks coach! I wouldn’t be where I am without ya!

Kyle Gree, Eastern Kansas Sports Facebook Page

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