New Trojan in charge

Eric Holmes/Special to PrepsKC

By Nick McCabe PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 10, 2013 - 6:10 PM

Greg Reynolds said the man that replaced him as head football coach at Park Hill High School needed to have enthusiasm. After a 13-year run that included over 100 wins and a state championship, Reynolds felt the program needed an injection of youthful energy. It would seem Athletic Director Bill Sobbe and the Park Hill administration agreed, judging by the selection of Staley assistant Josh Hood to take the reins of the Trojans.
“Enthusiastic” might very well be the perfect adjective to describe Hood. This reporter e-mailed him an interview request after 11:30 p.m. on a weeknight and received a reply less than 10 minutes later that said, “I would love to talk football with you and be able to spread the word about the Trojans.” Yep, he’s enthusiastic.
Hood survived a lengthy interview process that attracted top candidates from throughout the region. Park Hill was an elite program under Reynolds so his retirement from coaching drew significant interest, including from established head coaches. But eventually Hood won the job with his vision for the program. He also won the support of Reynolds.
“I had a chance to meet with Coach Reynolds a few times about the job and the process and what expectations I should have, what I needed to look out for and what questions I needed to ask,” Hood said. “He did a great job of helping me out and told me that he’d be there if I got the job to throw things off of or be there for support and he’s been that way. He’s been great with us.”
There were several other reasons Hood was a great fit for the job. His wife is the head volleyball coach at Park Hill. In his mid-30s, with a two-year-old son Knox who spends many hours with mom and dad in the gym and on the field, Hood is one of the youngest head coaches in the metro. And he already had relationships with many of the assistants on the Park Hill staff, a big advantage in an era when school budgets do not allow new coaches to bring in a bunch of their own people.
“I had a pretty good familiarity with a majority of the coaching staff just based on a couple of good friends I had that were over here,” he said. “I used to go to breakfast with these guys on snow days. We would all get together and it was myself from Staley and then the majority of these guys from Park Hill. So when it came together it felt like a real natural fit.”
One of the two assistants new to the program would seem to be the first major victory of Hood’s head coaching career. Defensive coordinator Quentin Hamner was most recently the head coach at Clark County in northeast Missouri where he led his team to the Class 2 quarterfinals and a glittering 12-1 record last year.
“He had worked with Coach Bouchard and Coach Lite at Harrisonville so he brings that same scheme that I know from Staley,” Hood said. “I walk down there and hear them making calls and I know exactly what’s going on.”
Offensively, Hood is excited about an up-tempo style that will be new to the metro.
“We’ve got a new kind of system,” he said. “We’re going to play fast.  We’re trying to snap the football in eight seconds. We’ve got a system we’ve put in place that I’ve been dreaming up for a few years. It’s been fun because I’ve been drawing things up at Staley for several years but now I get a chance to use some of that stuff. We’re going to spread it out and move guys around all over the field.”
When researching the job, Hood heard a few negative comments about the talent level currently in the program, but those concerns were quickly dispelled after he got the position.
“It took about a week for me to realize that we have some good players,” he said. “We maybe don’t have the one standout but we have a lot of guys that can play. We’ve got guys playing all over the place because we’ve got athletes. We feel like speed is one of the assets we have.”
 And now that win number one is in the books, Hood can focus on enthusiastically building Park Hill back into a northland powerhouse.
“We’re in good shape here,” he said. “We like it here and we’re ready to establish ourselves in the Park Hill community.”