Coach Profile: DeSoto's Tom Byers 2/24
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
DeSoto is the right team, right town at the right time for head coach Tom Byers. The Wildcats coach has been an assistant at bigger high schools and on the college level but he feels DeSoto is where he needs to be.
The second-year head coach spent eight years as an assistant at Class 6A Blue Valley Northwest before moving on to Ottawa University as an assistant. He then went back to the high school ranks at DeSoto where he served as the defensive coordinator for three years. Then last year the opportunity to be a head coach opened at DeSoto and Byers felt it was the right time.
“I said in my interview for this job that it was a great fit for me and a great fit for DeSoto,” Byers said. “I think the smaller town fits me well. I was a coach at Blue Valley Northwest and while I liked working there, for me the 4A is just the right size of school. You have the right number of kids to work with and there is that community feeling.”
DeSoto got off to a slow start in Byers first year, but a big win over Baldwin in week No. 4 earned Byers his first win as a head coach and the Wildcats would go on to make the playoffs. This past year DeSoto made the playoffs once again but this year it would beat rival Eudora in the first round and then follow that up with a win over Piper.
The Wildcats would fall to eventual champion Louisburg in the Class 4A quarterfinals but the two playoff wins were the first for the school in two decades. DeSoto was one of four Frontier League teams to make the quarterfinals and Byers said the league is one of the best in the Metro and the state.
“People might not think about our league because we are on the outskirts of the city on the Kansas side,” Byers said. “There are very good teams in this league. Louisburg, Eudora and Paola have been very good teams over the years. We have patterned ourselves after those programs.”
“The great thing is all of the teams are really trying to win. There are coaches who have great staffs and you know every week it is going to be a great game and you have to be ready to play.”
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