New season, new challenges await new coach
A few weeks ago Eudora's quarterbacks and receivers coach was walking off the field in Louisburg following the Cardinals' season ending loss.
All that is behind Ryan Luke now as he takes on the role he was brought to Eudora to do as the head coach of the girls basketball team.
"It's always tough to make that transition from sport to sport," Luke said, "but I was ready to get things going and I think the girls were ready, too."
The Lady Cardinals got their season underway with the first day of practice Monday and just getting things going helped make the transition that much easier.
"It helps to get started for the girls, especially those in volleyball who are coming off a great season," Luke said.
There are other transitions that will have to be dealt with on both sides of the ball for the Cardinals.
Both Luke and the girls will be dealing with something new as the season unfolds.
For the girls, it is a new head coach and a different style of play.
Luke steps into an area of coaching he has yet to do in his basketball career -- coaching girls.
"I've always coached boys, so this is something new for me," Luke said. "But I think the girls have responded to the change."
Luke coached the boys squad at Elm Creek High School near Kearney, Neb. and took that team to the 2004 state tournament.
Monday's practice wasn't a get-acquainted session for the coach and team, however.
Luke got an introduction to his new players in May and saw a few of them in summer camps.
The first day of practice was a chance to see what the coach will be working with over the coming winter in an effort to implement his more up-tempo approach.
"I think we've got some good players out there," Luke said. "We've got some speed and that can help us."
Some of the players the new coach will have to work with are returning senior Michelle Deluna and junior Erin Kracl, both of whom are players that can perhaps thrive in an up-tempo system.
"Michelle (Deluna) can really handle the ball," Luke said. "And players like Erin can move and get open."
With the players in place to get the season rolling, the head coach and players can let go of a volleyball season that came up heartbreakingly short and a football season that ended too soon for most.
As the basketballs began hitting the floor in the early morning hours of Monday's first practice, things became clear the transition was in full swing and soon the fall seasons would be forgotten.