Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2003

McLouth football appoints former Cherryvale coach

June 18, 2003

McLouth football could have a long road ahead of it.

But that doesn't bother new coach Harry Hester.

After all, Hester, who was hired last month, has been making the long journey from Cherryvale to McLouth about three times a week to monitor the Bulldogs' summer weight program.

The trip is anywhere from two-and-a-half to three hours long, depending on traffic in Lawrence and Ottawa.

"I'm a driving machine," Hester said. "I know every place to stop between here and Cherryvale."

Hester and his family have found a house in McLouth and should be moving in this summer after his current residence in Cherryvale is sold.

Until then, the driving continues. A brother lives in Parkville, Mo., so he does have another option. In fact, on Monday, Hester made the 40-minute drive from Parkville, starting at the ripe time of 5:30 a.m.

But with an encouraging number of 30 players coming for weightlifting, the drive seems more bearable.

A Caney Valley High alum who then went to Independence Community College and Pittsburg State, Hester has been used to southeast Kansas -- and winning. Last year, Cherryvale went 9-3 and advanced to Class 3A sectionals before losing to Rossville with a team that would lose only two seniors. In four years, Hester helped the Chargers to a 22-17 record as an assistant. Before that he was an assistant at Girard Middle School.

A chance to be a head coach, though, outweighed the potential at Cherryvale.

Up the road in northeast Kansas, Hester inherits a team that went winless last season and has a 2-25 record the last three years. He also becomes the third head coach in as many years.

"It was tough, but I really think they're committed in the administration and community itself and the kids are ready to turn this thing around," Hester said about his new school.

After applying at various schools, McLouth was the only one in which he actually interviewed.

Hester already sponsored a youth football camp in McLouth for students in second through eighth grades. He also will have a high school camp later this summer.

The Bulldog staff also will consist of assistant coaches Shannon Crouse and Brad LeDuc. Crouse stepped down from the head coaching position after serving in that slot last season. He was an assistant under Ballard Patterson in 2001 as well.

Actual coaching duties between the three haven't been decided yet, but for Hester, who has been a defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, wide receivers coach and a line coach, that's not a major concern.

"That's why I came here and saw what kind of coaches I would have," Hester said. "I told them 'I'll coach whatever you guys don't feel comfortable doing.'"

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