Former EHS assistant tagged to replace Kinney
Eudora athletic director Dave Durkin received a pile of resumes and spent plenty of time mulling it over. In the end, the search to replace former Eudora baseball coach Dirk Kinney ended nearly where it began -- on the current coaching staff.
Eudora assistant Shaun Edmondson will take over for Kinney, replacing the five-year coach after just his first year as a high school assistant.
"This is a great opportunity in Eudora because I like the town and I like the people," the 29-year old Edmondson said.
Being tabbed as the Cardinals' head coach marks a career high for Edmondson, who to this point has traveled near and far following the game he loves. He's currently a substitute teacher in the Eudora district, a job that allows him plenty of time off for baseball.
It's also the one that led him to the Eudora staff and eventually to its top job in the first place.
"Things just happen for a reason," he said. "I got certified to be a full-time substitute and Kinney just approached me. He knew some people I knew in the baseball community, so he came up to ask if I could help him coach."
The Eudora stop was initially just another in a long line for the baseball vagabond.
Edmondson grew up in Lawrence and played on Lawrence High School's 1996 Class 6A state championship team.
He went on to play college ball at Independence Community College and Baker University, before hitting the coaching circuit. His longest stop was two years as an assistant at Hutchinson Community College.
Before becoming Eudora assistant, he spent three summers coaching in summer baseball leagues in Minnesota and North Carolina.
"I've been blessed," he said. "I've been around a lot of really great coaches and really good players."
He coached the Lawrence Raiders American Legion team to a 31-17 record and a state runner-up title over the summer, and said that experience, plus his year on the Eudora bench, leave him ready to handle high schoolers.
"I matured a lot as a coach," he said of the last year. "It's different, the high school scene. You have to be more patient and more analytical.
"A lot of those guys I coached (in the college summer leagues) are playing professionally now. You don't have to go in depth with their mechanics every few weeks. At high school, you need to reinforce that every few days."
That'll take a lot of work, he said -- it's the best thing he picked up from his year under Kinney. The Cardinals were 12-6 last season and remain just one year removed from a trip to the Class 4A state championship game.
Edmondson said he saw Kinney put in the time to make it all happen, and as a first-year coach, he plans to do the same.
"His best quality was that he really put in a lot of time, effort and energy," Edmondson said. "I'll have plenty of time to give to the kids.
"I'm excited about it. I know we have a lot of really good players and we'll win a lot of baseball games. It's going to be fun -- I wish the season started tomorrow."