Coach Profile: SM South's Ryan Lonergan 2/1
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
You might say Shawnee Mission South’s Ryan Lonergan was born to coach. That may not have been the original career goal but Lonergan has taken to the family business and is now a head coach of his own program.
The Raiders second-year head coach grew up in Iola (Kan.) and played high school football for his father. After a college career that included stops at Fort Scott Community College and Pittsburg State. After his career was over he spent one year at his alma mater before moving north and joining Gene Wier’s staff at Olathe North where he was a member of a state championship coaching staff.
From there Lonergan moved to Shawnee Mission West with Tim Callaghan when he took over the Vikings program 10 seasons ago. He served as an assistant under Callaghan until taking over South in 2011.
“I’ve been fortunate to get to play for and work with several great men and coaches,” Lonergan said. “My dad was my first influence. He was my high school coach and coached with me this past season. His passion for the game has definitely spread to me. Chris Curtis was my coach for two seasons at Fort Scott CC and his attention to detail showed me that football is a lot more than showing up and rolling out a ball. I could say the same for my coach at Pitt State, Bill Kroenke.
“Coaching for Gene Wier, I learned what a good high school football program entails. He showed me how to work on the details and the value of having a great group of coaches. The most recent and probably biggest influence on me has been working for Tim Callaghan and Shawnee Mission West. He is the most well rounded person I’ve been around and handles all his duties with the utmost respect for himself, his family, and the football program. He has been and is still a great role model to me.”
Lonergan said there are a lot of things that have drawn him to the profession even though there are some challenges.
“I love having the opportunity to shape young men’s lives,” Lonergan said. “There is no better feeling than seeing an individual achieves something they never thought possible.
“If I could change one thing it would be to add more time in the day to spend with my family. Coaching takes up so much time that it leaves little time to spend at home.”
The path to those achievements is Lonergan’s guiding philosophy. He wants his players to have a purpose for their actions both on and off the football field.
“My Philosophy for the Shawnee Mission South Football Program is to develop responsible leaders that will positively impact our world,” Lonergan said. “I believe having purpose is the foundation for success. Having a defined purpose develops the work ethic and discipline that goes along with striving to achieve our purpose. When everyone within a program works together to achieve this purpose, then will great team and individual success follow.”
The Raiders have shown improvement in Lonergan’s first two years. South was just 2-7 in 2011 but the record improved to 4-5 this season with only a close 28-21 loss to Blue Valley Northwest in district play keeping the Raiders from a winning record and a spot in the postseason. If the trend of improvement continues there could be good things on the horizon for South and Lonergan.
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