School board approves new coaching hires
Tonganoxie High School coaching staffs became larger after last Thursday's school board meeting.
The board approved hires in four sports, with the most additions coming in football.
Sean Randall, Lanier English and Andrew Breuer were all hired for the fall football season.
Randall, who is already the new THS baseball coach, will also have duties on the football field. He completed the girls' basketball staff as well, as he was hired for the freshman coaching position. Randy Kraft and Kristel Lewis are the girls' head and assistant coaches respectively.
Another hiring came in track with Steve Hughes hired to replace Bill DeWitt, who will coach wrestling at Eudora next year. Andy Gilner was the final hire, as he will again be the junior varsity baseball coach.
The football team finally has a complete staff ready for the fall. Along with Randall, English will be new to the staff. The recent Tennessee-Martin graduate played baseball at UTM and also had offers to play college football.
He'll be a good solid addition," said THS football coach Mark Elston.
Elston's father, Don Elston, will return as a dollar coach, and Dave Purcell, a member of the Chieftain football team in the early 90s, will also volunteer.
Mark Elston said he was happy to have his father help coach again, but knew he needed to have a more relaxed retirement.
"He wants to go fishing when he wants to," Mark said. "If he feels like showing it's a huge benefit. If not, he's earned the right."
Mark, though, knows he'll probably see his father often.
"He'll be around," Mark said. "He can't stay away from it."
The football staff is now complete. Matt Bond will be defensive coordinator, along with coach of the offensive and defensive lines. David St. Cyr will oversee defensive backs and running backs, while Randall will coach receivers and help with the defensive line. English will help with the offensive line and coach outside linebackers. Purcell will help with receivers and defensive backs, while Elston is unsure where Breuer will coach. At this point, it's probably going to be with the linemen, he said.
Don Elston, meanwhile, will coach anywhere he wants, his son said.
Because some of the coaches are inexperienced, Elston said the staff is slightly larger this year.
It shows, though, that people in the community are willing to help the team, and Elston said that was encouraging for the Chieftains.
"That should say a lot for where the program's headed," Elston said. "It's a good sign."
Tonganoxie still has vacancies for a freshman girls basketball coach, along with seventh and eighth grade boys basketball coaches. For next spring, an assistant softball coach and an assistant baseball coach are the final openings.
THS athletics director Brandon Parker said the department was in good shape.
"We're covered for the fall season, "Parker said. "That's the most important thing."