Coach has a ‘new’ role
Tonganoxie is embarking on its third head boys' basketball coach in four years, but it's not a major transition this time.
David Walker, who was an assistant the last two years under Mike Webb, is in his first year as head coach at THS this season.
Walker was head coach at Williamsburg for five years before coming to Tonganoxie.
While with the Panthers, Walker went 17-4, 16-6 and 13-8 in his final three seasons.
"It was a harder transition from head to assistant than assistant to head coach," Walker said.
Now at the helm, Walker plans to focus more on his team than the opponents.
"I like Roy Williams' philosophy," Walker said. "If you worry too much about the opponent, you forget about what we're trying to do."
Williamsburg was Walker's first stint as a head coach, although he was an assistant at his high school and college alma maters Fort Osage (Mo.) and Ottawa University.
"That was fun going back to those places I'd played at before," Walker said about his time at Fort Osage. "I did that while student teaching."
Now eight years later, Walker is teaching at the head of the basketball team and in the THS biology department.
"I've always enjoyed teaching and being around the kids," Walker said.
On the basketball court, Walker's curriculum has been easy to understand, according to his players.
"Everything's a lot smoother compared to last year," said senior Thomas Gilner. "We know where he stands and he knows where we stand. It's easy to play for a coach like Coach Walker."
The transition has been smooth on the coaching side as well.
"I think the kids are working really hard," Walker said. "They're really responsive to what we're doing. I'm looking forward to the year."
After a 9-11 season last year, the Chieftains open the season Nov. 30 against Immaculata in Leavenworth.
Game times against Immaculata in Leavenworth have been announced.
On Nov. 30th, game times are: junior varsity girls, 4 p.m.; junior varsity boys, 5:30 p.m.; varsity girls, 7 p.m.; varsity boys, 8:30 p.m.
Freshmen games will be Jan. 7 at Leavenworth with girls playing at 5:30 p.m. and boys playing at 7 p.m. Games at Tonganoxie will be Feb. 4 in the junior high gym at 6:15 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys).