Coach Profile: St. Pius X Rick Byers
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
When you think of some high school football programs you instantly think of the coach. For St. Pius X and Head Coach Rick Byers that is definitely the case.
Byers has been coaching the Warriors since 1995 and in that time St. Pius X has been one of the most successful programs in the Kansas City Metro. Byers time at St. Pius stretches back to 1986 as an assistant and he has seen a lot of winning and three state titles in his time with the Warriors.
Even though St. Pius X is a private school it is situated in a neighborhood on the north side of Kansas City and Byers said it is more like a small town that a regular private school.
“We’re a small town right in the middle of the city,” Byers said. “A lot of these kids here I have coached their older brothers and even their uncles because I’ve been here that long. It’s a little town and they just work their butts off.”
In Byers time as head coach the Warriors have been to the playoffs 11 times, won nine district championships, been to the state title game four times and won three state titles in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
Byers said part of the success he and his coaching staff have had at St. Pius X is because of the community feel and the kids dedication to the program.
“I think we always get kids out and they seem to stay out,” Byers said. “We don’t have a lot of turnover. If we get a kid who comes out as a freshman, you are going to have him as a senior. Those kids they just don’t quit. We just seem to have those kind of kids all of the time.”
Byers is now one of the veteran coaches in the Kansas City Metro and now his coaching tree is beginning to bear some fruit. Byers former assistants Tim Grunhard and Tom Radke have taken over programs on the Kansas side and had very good results. Grunhard led Bishop Miege to a Kansas Class 4A state title last year and Radke has turned Piper into one of the better teams in the Kaw Valley league.
“Last year when Tim was on his playoff run you could probably see me on film standing on the sidelines hanging around in the background,” Byers said. “I’m glad those guys are doing great, it’s been a lot of fun to watch their success.”
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