Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 8/2
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC staff writer
When you’ve got a shiny new car, you’re a little reluctant to hand the keys over to, well, anyone.
And if you’re the owner of a vintage ride, a one-of-a-kind classic that’s the envy of all your neighbors, you’ll only hand those keys off to someone you can really trust, like family.
Blue Valley is one of just a few of those timeless automobiles on the Kansas side, so it’s fitting that when Steve Rampy took the keys out of the ignition, he handed them to family.
When Rampy resigned last winter to take over as the offensive coordinator at Pittsburg State University, the Tigers turned to Eric Driskell, an assistant for 15 years under Rampy and a member of the Tigers first-ever state championship team in 1991.
With the 2010 season just a couple of weeks away, Blue Valley is in good hands and running like she just pulled off the showroom floor.
If you take a look at a couple other two vintage rides on the Kansas side — Olathe North and Lawrence — you’ll see a similar method of operation. In Lawrence, Dirk Wedd, a 1970 Lawrence grad, took over for legend Dick Purdy. At North, the Eagles turned to Pete Flood, a 1985 North graduate, a couple of years after longtime coach Gene Wier resigned.
When you’ve got something that special, you want to make sure it’s in the right hands.
“It’s been a relatively easy transition because we have such a veteran staff,” Driskell said. “We have experienced coaches in place and that has helped us role from year to year with such high expectations.”
Driskell inherits a team that started the 2009 season 1-6, but finished with a flurry, winning four of their last five and coming within an eyelash of the Class 6A state title game, losing to eventual champion Olathe North 16-14 after the Eagles kicked a field goal in the final seconds of the game.
“The most important thing about last season is that through it all, no one associated with the team questioned what we were doing,” Driskell said. “The kids hung in there and that’s a huge lesson for them.”
The Tigers welcome back six players on each side of the ball that started at some point last year along with 32 seniors, so there’s no reason to think that this beauty won’t be roaring down the road again in 2010, despite the new driver.
At the start of each season, the Blue Valley staff talks to the players about their legacy they ask, “What are you gonna leave behind? What will be your legacy?”
Who knows what the future holds, maybe 10, 15 or even 20 years down the road, one of these current Tigers might even get the keys and have a chance to drive.
Jim Bradford is a staff writer for PrepsKC.
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