As we get ready to start the 2020 football season let’s look at some of the changes on both sides of the state line.
It seems conference moves are happening more often these days and this offseason was no different. There was only one school that moved but it was a major move. Mill Valley left the EKL where it had been the last few seasons to join the Sunflower League. That puts the Sunflower at 14 teams and leaves the EKL with eight.
Mill Valley is probably on its way to being a Class 6 football program and the Sunflower League is home to 12 Class 6 schools right now so that move seems to fit. With the Jaguars gone from the EKL it leaves the five Blue Valley schools along with the three Catholic High Schools Bishop Miege, St. James Academy and St. Thomas Aquinas.
There are more moves on the horizon starting in 2022 as Piper heads to the United Kansas Conference along with Topeka West and Topeka Seaman.
Some years there is a large turnover in coaches while others it’s just a few. This year there are only 4 new coaches in the Metro.
|School||Former Coach||New Coach|
|Bonner Springs||Chad Eaddy||David Blazevic|
|Olathe East||Jesse Owen||Courtney Palmer|
|Shawnee Mission North||Zach Rampy||Andy Walter|
|Turner||Julian Parks||Stephan Franklin|
There is always movement on the Missouri side every two years as the Suburban Conference realigns based on enrollment. The past few cycles we’ve seen some old conferences go away and some new ones form.
The Suburban Conference changes are pretty basic. The big changes see the Gold and Blue holding more than half the schools with 15 combined while the Red and White have six teams each.
Other moves saw Center and Clinton end their two-year runs as independents to join the Missouri River Valley West Conference. That brings that part of the MRVC to eight teams which made a strong league even stronger.
On the small school side the trend of Class 1 schools dropping to 8-man continues. This season an all-time high of 34 schools in Missouri will play 8-man football. Three schools from the former I-70 conference, Concordia, Santa Fe and St. Paul Lutheran have dropped to 8-man. The Western Missouri League saw Archie and Jasper drop as well.
Some of the remaining teams from those two conferences have joined to form the new West Central Football Conference. This league will have Adrian and Cass-Midway from the WEMO along with Crest Ridge, Lone Jack, and Wellington-Napoleon. This new conference will be interesting to watch as it combines the top football schools from those former two leagues.
The Missouri side had quite a few changes that included some blockbuster hires. The biggest change was the retirement of Tony Severino, Kelly Donohoe and Tom Kruse. The three are pillars of the coaching community and some of the top coaches in the country.
Severino is retired in the true sense of the word. He is off to coach his grandchildren as his time on the sidelines is done. Donohoe and Kruse both took retirement from their public-school jobs as head coaches and ADs. Donohoe left Blue Springs and Kruse left Raymore-Peculiar after the school year.
Neither took the Severino route but instead ended up at Rockhurst together. Donohoe was named the Hawklets new head coach in December and Kruse has come on as an assistant. Also joining the staff is retired Blue Springs South coach Greg Oder rounding out what will be an all-star crew.
Here is the complete list of coaching changes on the Missouri side.
|School||Former Coach||New Coach|
|Blue Springs||Kelly Donohoe||David White|
|Clinton||Paul Carney||Kevin LaFavor|
|East Buchanan||Kevin Bryan||Daniel Ritter|
|Pleasant Hill||Mike Hedrick||Justin Hamilton|
|Raymore-Peculiar||Tom Kruse||Sean Martin|
|Rockhurst||Tony Severino||Kelly Donohoe|
|St. Pius X||Rick Byers||Anthony Simone Jr.|
|Southeast||Sean Coffey||Julius Foster|
|Savannah||Randy Schrader||Kevin Kopecky|
|St. Michael||Kevin Page||Andy Pitts|
|Wellington-Napoleon||Quenton Bainbridge||Andy Hampton|
|West Platte||Paul Thomas||Jim Newsted|