Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2007

McLouth names 2 coaches

July 11, 2007

The McLouth Bulldogs will have new volleyball and girls basketball coaches next season.

Erika Houk will take over the volleyball program, while Todd Cossman will coach the girls basketball team. Cossman was the assistant varsity girls basketball coach and coached the junior varsity team last season.

The McLouth school board approved Houk's position at its June 11 meeting. The board approved Cossman at its May 14 meeting.

Keith Miller, who coached the girls basketball team for the past two years, resigned from McLouth at the end of the school year. He accepted a position as a teacher and assistant girls basketball coach with Kansas City Christian School. He will teach 12th grade government and 10th grade history.

Amy Bergman, who coached the volleyball team and joined the McLouth staff in 2004, recently chose a different profession. Her contract was not renewed at the end of the year.

Cossman will take over a Bulldogs girls basketball team that went 8-13 last year. The eight victories were the most for the program in five years.

"I'm hoping to build this into a real program, to where we're competitive from top to bottom with the junior varsity and the varsity," Cossman said. "The ultimate goal is to make a run at state. To do that, you have to be competitive year in and year out."

Cossman will return the majority of the Bulldogs' key players from last season, including Melissa Rome.

The sophomore was an all-league selection in her freshman season. Post player Kylie Shufflebarger and guard Abby Annis also will serve as leaders.

"My preference is to be pretty up-tempo," Cossman said. "I also like to be hard-nosed, defensively. I like to trap a lot. But I'm pretty adaptable, so I'm going to go with what's best for the team."

Cossman graduated from Kansas State in 2005. He coached in the Mid America Youth Basketball league for five years. Cossman will start his second year at McLouth in the fall.

"To me, one of the first things that comes to mind is his enthusiasm," Todd Pierce, McLouth athletics director, said of Cossman. "He has a passion and excitement about coaching. He built a pretty good rapport with the girls last year."

Houk, 22, will be a senior at Washburn University in the fall. She played one season of volleyball at Allen County Community College and has coached two club volleyball teams.

"I'm looking into the long-term," Houk said. "With me being so young and from playing college ball, I can still bring experience. The goal is to get to state and get the McLouth name out there."

Coincidentally, Houk actually used to be a rival of the Bulldogs. She played high school volleyball at nearby Oskaloosa, which is considered McLouth's biggest rival.

"I'll have to get rid of all those Oskaloosa T-shirts," Houk said, laughing. "I'm just excited for the season to start."

Houk's mother graduated from McLouth, while her father graduated from Oskaloosa, adding to the family rivalry.

Houk will take over a program that finished 10-19 last season. The Bulldogs lost in the first round of sub-state to Jayhawk-Linn.

"You can't focus on one player," Houk said about next year's team. "If you don't have six that play together, you're not going to go anywhere."

Houk will be the first to start her new job, as volleyball season begins next month. Cossman will open practice in November.

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