Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 1/21

Jim Bradford

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: January 21, 2015 - 10:49 AM



Sometimes a school makes a good hire. Sometimes they make a real good hire.

And sometimes, they hit it out of the park.

Down in Olathe, a couple of schools did just that over the course of the last couple of weeks. They caught a hanging curveball and deposited the deliveries over the outfield wall. So to speak, I suppose.

Olathe East hired just their second coach ever two weeks ago when they hired Jesse Owen. And Olathe North promoted longtime assistant Chris McCartney last week.

Both take over for coaching legends and both were home run hires. Grand slam home runs.

Owen comes back to Olathe after one year as the head coach at Eudora. He started his coaching career as a student teacher at Olathe East in 2002 before spending the next 11 years as an assistant at Olathe North.

The do-everything, unquestioned stud of the Eagles first-ever state title team in 1996, Owen was born to be a high school football coach.

The Hawks couldn’t have tabbed a better replacement for the only coach thy have ever known in Jeff Meyers.

Meyers leaves quite a legacy for Owen and for some it might be a bit daunting, but Owen is up for the challenge. His decade-plus experience under a few great coaches and on some great staffs at North has him ready for the job.

For McCartney, he takes over for another legend in Gene Wier, who will join the staff at the University of Kansas as the director of high school recruiting.

McCartney has been one of the constants on the North staff doe nearly two decades. He brings a wealth of experience to the head coaching chair at North. As the leader of the defense at North over the course of the past decade, the Ealges have been downright nasty, including last year’s version that lost in the state semifinals for the second year in a row.

Owen and McCartney join Chip Sherman at Olathe Northwest and Jeff Gourley at Olathe South — another pair of home run hires from a while back in Olathe — to form a pretty formidable foursome in Olathe.

And suddenly, two of the winningest teams in Class 6A over the course of the past two decades — or more — are being led by a rookie head coach and another with one year of head coaching experience.

And they couldn’t be in better hands.