Coach Profile: Odessa's Dan Joiner 1/19
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Former Park Hill South coach has moved out of the Kansas City Metro but his influence is still being felt. Two former assistants are now head coaches with both heading up programs in the Missouri River Valley Conference East.
Andy Sims just finished his first year at Excelsior Springs and Dan Joiner headed up the Odessa program this past season. Joiner took over a Bulldogs team that didn’t have much experience but still had high expectations from a town and school that really loves its football.
Joiner loves the atmosphere and passion he sees in the players and fans at Odessa.
“I’d rather go to a place like that instead of place where there aren’t fans and high expectations,” Joiner said. “For us we love the thought of people wanting us to win, wanting us to play hard. It definitely motivates us as coaches and we transfer that down to the kids.”
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start with losses to Holden and St. Joseph Lafayette in their first two games. After that start Odessa righted the ship to win three of its last four games and qualify for the playoffs at 5-5.
The season came with a few challenges but none that Joiner didn’t feel he was prepared for. As a first-year coach he said there a few things that popped up that he didn’t expect but during his time at South, Coach Litchfield gave his assistants plenty of opportunities to learn the coaching trade.
“There are always things that go on that as an assistant coach that you think that go on that you never really hear,” Joiner said. “Just the parent interaction and things along those lines that you don’t really expect as an assistant coach and some of the questions that get brought up to a head coach that you wouldn’t expect. Other than that Ron Litchfield at Park Hill South did a good job of preparing us. We had a lot of delegation and responsibilities so I was definitely prepared for it when I came in.”
This season the Bulldogs have done a lot of learning. Last season Odessa didn’t have a winning record but it still was able to win two of its last three games and make the Class 3 Playoffs. The Bulldogs would lose in the first round of the playoffs to Pleasant Hill and finish with a 7-4 record.
There wasn’t much experience coming back off of that team, so Joiner knew the early part of his schedule would be used to get his players ready for the district schedule. The Bulldogs fell in the first round to Maryville but their only district loss was to eventual champion Richmond.
“There were probably two or three people that actually had playing time from this team,” Joiner said. “We knew as far as now and district play and the long run in the future it would be better for us to get these young kids some experience. I think it is definitely pay off for us next year by giving those young kids a chance to start and going through those growing pains now.”
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