Archive for Thursday, August 2, 2007

No rush in search for new EHS baseball coach

August 2, 2007

In Dirk Kinney's five years coaching Eudora High School baseball, he brought the team a Frontier League title and a berth in a state championship game. Now that he has left Eudora, Kinney's success could help the program secure a new coach, Eudora High School athletic director Dave Durkin said.

"We would like to continue to accomplish the things we have for the past four or five years," Durkin said. "We've had a number of people contact us who are interested in the program and the job."

Kinney, who helped turn Eudora baseball into one of the best programs in the region, elected to take a job as pitching coach at Ouachita Baptist University, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Kinney announced his resignation to the Eudora players almost two weeks ago. Though Kinney has moved on, the program's transformation into a winner could continue.

The Cardinals posted a 12-6 record last season after finishing second in Class 4A in 2006. This recent success has made Durkin's search for a replacement easier. He said several candidates from outside the program had already expressed interest in the job. Other potential options exist within the program: several assistant coaches could be in the running to fill Kinney's shoes. Durkin said promoting from within the program would be possible because the members of Eudora's staff are already familiar with the team.

Kinney's teaching position at Eudora High has already been filled, Durkin said. This further streamlines the search, since potential candidates would not necessarily need teaching experience.

Having a number of choices on the table has afforded Eudora the opportunity to bide its time while making a decision. Durkin said he and the school would spend the next few weeks mulling options before conducting interviews and deciding on a new head coach.

The Eudora baseball program's top priority is making the inevitable adjustment period brief and seamless so the team loses as little momentum as possible heading into next spring.

"We would like to have someone who is a good fit for our school," Durkin said. "We want someone who is interested in making progress. We want to continue competing for league, regional and state championships."

No matter who fills the coaching vacancy, the 2008 squad could be a good one. Despite battling injuries and facing quality teams like Kansas City Ward and the Lawrence Raiders, the Cardinals finished 6-10 this summer.

Durkin emphasized that despite the shuffling of coaches, the members of the team would be able to adapt and help ease the transition.

"We have great kids here," Durkin said. "The fact that we have such good kids is a reflection of the coach. They've always responded well and they've always played well."

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