These past two weeks have been two of the most grueling of my life. Not because they have been bad or negative, but because I have had to make one of the toughest decisions (possibly THE toughest) I have ever had to make.
I remember back when I was a student at Liberty High School thinking about how amazing it would be to teach and coach in the distinguished Liberty School District. One of my favorite teachers was Coach Simpson. Anyone could tell that Coach Simpson loved his job. He got to work with students during the day teaching physical education, and by night he got to live out his passion as a basketball coach. Inside, I was secretly jealous of what he had. He got to coach under one my role models–head coach Roger Stirtz–and got to live out his dream working with students through the game he loved.
I vividly recall thinking about how great a gig Coach Simpson had and realized I would probably never be able to obtain such a job–simply because I didn’t have the talent. Coach Simpson was a great basketball player in his playing days and had the opportunity to play for Northwest Missouri State in college. Furthermore, it was well-known among us high school players that Coach Simpson had tried out for the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA before becoming a coach. If that wasn’t enough, Coach Simpson proved himself as an elite player in practices and open gyms as his shooting and overall basketball skills made it undeniable that he was a superb talent.
It was with this knowledge I came to think you had to be an elite basketball player to be a coach, and I knew I would never quite be on that level. Consequently, jealousy ensued as I literally thought I could only dream of such an opportunity to coach with Coach Stirtz, teach PE, and be a part of the well-regarded Liberty School District.
Thanks to some amazing administrators and trusted colleagues, my dream somehow became a reality over these past four years–and it was just as amazing as I thought it would be. Teaching and coaching for the Blue Jays has been one of the great joys of my life. Coach Stirtz is a great role model and mentor who creates a fun, collaborative atmosphere that is conducive to success on and off the basketball court. I knew this as a player when I played for him and I now know this as a coach who has now coached for him as well. The administration at Liberty has also been top-notch. From the top-down, the administrators in the Liberty School District have been nothing but supportive, encouraging, and a pleasure to work for. And lastly, all the amazing colleagues and students I have had the pleasure to work with have made this journey all the more fulfilling and enjoyable. I am humbled by how blessed I have been.
It is with this background in mind that my tough decision came about. I knew I loved my job at Liberty, so I made it clear to others when they inevitably asked, “So when are you going to start looking to be a head coach again?” that the only way I would leave would be for the perfect opportunity.
As many of you now know, that opportunity has come as I have now officially accepted the job as the head basketball coach at Smithville High School.
Smithville has everything I am looking for. Quality administrators, a positive school climate, and a supportive community who are passionate about their kids. It also helps that it’s only a short 25 minute commute from our house and is located near a pretty awesome lake!
After doing some more research and having the opportunity to visit with a few of the educators of Smithville, my “perfect opportunity” has clearly come. Through lots of prayer and reflection, my wife and I both decided it was time for a new adventure and we are extremely excited to get started!
I want to thank all the great educators, colleagues, students, and friends who I have had the privilege of working with these past four years in Liberty. I will always cherish our time together and hope we can stay in touch.
I also want to thank the community of Smithville for providing this new opportunity and being so supportive of me during this process. I am very excited and optimistic about the things to come.
And lastly, though jobs, places, and people change in our lives, I am comforted knowing that one thing never does: my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for my relationship I have with Him and know as long as I follow His direction, my future and my family’s future are taken care of.
Thanks again for everybody’s support in this process. I have truly been blessed.