Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Coach leaving Tonganoxie

April 17, 2002

For yet another year, Tonganoxie will have a new head coach among its athletic ranks.

Leslie Foster, who has been the girls' basketball coach the last two seasons, resigned as a math instructor and no longer will coach at Tonganoxie. Instead, Foster plans to pursue a degree in athletic training at the University of Kansas or an assistant coaching position at the women's college basketball level.

The move means the girls' team will have three coaches in four years, although the next coach might not be so new.

Athletics director John Lee, who coached girls' basketball before Foster, said Tuesday that he will seek the position.

Superintendent Richard Erickson said a timeline hasn't been set for applications. When coaches are hired, Erickson, high school principal Mike Bogart and Lee are involved in the selection. In this case, Lee won't participate in interviews.

"I want all programs to be successful," Lee said. "If I can be a part of that, that's great."

The basketball team isn't alone in coaching changes. The volleyball program has had its own frequent changing of the guard.

Tonganoxie has had a different coach in each of the last four years Chris Herron (1998), LeAnn Bond (1999), Kelly Alexander (2000) and Tiffany Parker (2001). Parker will return as the volleyball coach next season.

Erickson said that despite the turnover, athletics is progressing at THS.

"I don't think it's hard to keep coaches here," he said. "I'm really pleased with the coaching staff. It's as talented a coaching staff as I've been around."

Foster will now look to coach at the college level. A basketball player at Hutchinson Community College, Foster earned her teaching degree at Emporia State University. She coached at Emporia High and Argonia before coming to Tonganoxie more than four years ago. Foster has put in job applications at several colleges. If a coaching job doesn't surface, she'll work on her degree.

"It's a sacrifice I need to make with the goals I've set forth for myself," Foster said.

She said it would be hard to leave THS.

Foster was the freshman girls' coach in her first year in Tonganoxie, then moved up to junior varsity her second year. She also was an assistant volleyball coach for two years and has been the assistant softball coach the last three seasons.

Erickson said she would be missed.

"I wish her the best," Erickson said. "She's a good person and she worked hard for the school district."

Foster went 7-14 this past season. The year before, she led the team to the sub-state championship where the Chieftains fell to Hayden. That year, THS went 10-13.

"Expectations are high," Erickson said. "Most of our coaches enjoy working in an environment where there are high standards.

"When expectations are high, it serves the kids and that's what it's all about."

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