Coach Profile: Olathe South's Jeff Gourley 2/10
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Jeff Gourley has seen a little bit of everything during his coaching career. He’s led different programs from small towns, inner-city, single school suburban to some of the larger schools in the state. He’s won state titles along the way and is one of the veteran coaches in the Metro.
In his time as a head coach Gourley has been at Sherwood, Southwest, Belton (as an assistant and head coach) and Olathe South. He led Belton to a Missouri Class 5 state title game in 2007 and Olathe South to its first Kansas 6A championship in 2011.
During that time Gourley said he has seen some of his coaching philosophies change while others have stayed the same. One thing that hasn’t changed is what football can teach young men and what it takes to be successful on the field.
“I’ve always thought that if you taught the little things the big things will take care of themselves,” Gourley said. “One of the little things is the respect and the responsibility to show up every day to work. As the generations have changed a little bit I’ve seen more of what’s in it for me not what can you do for the team.
“While there have been changes the one thing that remains consistent is the kid that works hard and puts his ass on the line every day, he’s the one you can count on on fourth and one. The ones that don’t show up don’t count on them. They aren’t going to be there so don’t even lose sleep on them.”
While those basics are still the same, Gourley said his view of football and its place in the world has evolved in the last three decades.
“One thing that has changed over time is football is not the most important thing,” Gourley said. “It takes a backseat to a number of things actually. When I started you were either in or you were out. It was very black and white. The older I get the more gray it gets. Partially because for kids there is so much more stuff for them to do. You have to recruit sometimes and you have to compromise a little bit to get them on the field.
“Once you get on the field you are either in or you are out. You can’t count on a kid that’s not going to be there for you. There comes a point where the recruiting process is over and it’s time to go to work.”
There have been some highs and lows along the way for Gourley. He has reached the final game twice and has a state championship on his resume but other seasons also stand out. In fact this past season that saw Olathe South go 5-4 was one of the most satisfying of Gourley’s career. This group of seniors finished with a winning record after going winless as freshman, winning only one game as sophomores and three in junior varsity.
“I am as proud of this group of kids this year as I was the state championship group,” Gourley said. “To go 5-4 with this group of kids who were not highly talented was the high point. There are other things that are non-football related that are equally as high.
“Another high point was coaching my children. If you are a high school coach and if you don’t coach your kids you’re an idiot. It’s the best thing ever to watch them grow. For Scott and me to end the way we did with a state championship that was movie material. It just makes me smile every time I think about it.”
Coming off a season where his team didn’t make the postseason Gourley says he is as motivated as ever for the next year.
“I’m motivated, I’m excited and ready to go,” Gourley said.
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