Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kelly picks Josh Eftink as head coach

Josh Eftink will go from Woodland to Kelly after he was hired as the Hawks' new boys basketball coach this week.

He's the second coach so far this season to leave one SEMO area head coaching job and quickly land in another one. Nate Wills — who coached at Kelly the past three seasons — will take over at Bell City next season.

Eftink coached at Woodland the past three years.

About a half-dozen boys basketball coaching job remain open, including those at Doniphan, Festus, Hillsboro and Woodland. At least 17 boys basketball teams will start next season with a new head coach.

Click here for the full list of coaching changes coming up next season in the 23-county area.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brian Brandtner is back, this time at Cooter

Brian Brandtner, whose short stays at Bell City at Caruthersville led both schools to a string of 20-win seasons, will try to work the same magic at Cooter next season. The school said Tuesday it's formally hired Brandtner as its new boys basketball coach.

Brandtner will also teach history at the high school. He replaces Delane Beckwith, who coached the Wildcats for three seasons.

In a little more than three full seasons at Bell City and three more in Caruthersville, Brandtner's style on and off the court drew criticism, but his results on the court were a hit with fans. Two of his three seasons at Caruthersville produced 20 wins apiece; he left there for a job at Bell City, where two of his three teams lost in the state championship and each won at least 25 games.

Brandtner's departure from Bell City was a sudden one; he was suspended in December 2008 amid an investigation into conduct off the court. He was never reinstated.

Cooter's hiring is the 10th boys basketball coaching job filled since the end of the season in March. Several area schools remain in the hunt for coaches, including Doniphan, Festus, Hillsboro, Kelly and Woodland.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coaching job still open at Kelly, other schools

Official word from Kelly High School officials is that the boys basketball coaching job is still open, despite reports on and at least one other message board that it was filled.

One job that has been taken: Jeff Null is the new boys basketball coach at Naylor, replacing Glen Eubanks. Null will also coach the baseball team.

Boys basketball coaching jobs remain open at Doniphan, Ellington, Festus, Grandview, Hillsboro and Woodland (where both the boys and girls jobs are still vacant), among others.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Updates on coaches and rankings

Dustin Benson is the new boys basketball coach at Twin Rivers. The board approved the hiring over three other final candidates Tuesday night.

Benson has lifelong ties to Twin Rivers and was long considered the frontrunner for the spot left open by Rob Brown, who left last month for the head coaching job at Liberty High in Mountain View.

Benson played baseball and basketball at Twin Rivers before he graduated in 2000; he went on to play baseball at Crowley's Ridge College and graduated from Arkansas State. He was the head softball coach and assistant basketball coach at Poplar Bluff.

Plenty of other high school coaching jobs are open or have been filled in the past month alone. See the full list here.

• Several visitors to the site have asked about our SEMO Top 10 baseball poll, the exclusive rankings we developed last season with help from local baseball coaches, athletes and fans. The weekly poll won't appear this year, but we're already planning to bring it back in time for next season. For the 2010-'11 seasons, we'll continue our rankings for SEMO football, boys basketball and girls basketball as well, along with baseball and (hopefully) volleyball, too.

Just in case you're feeling nostalgic, check out the final 2009 baseball rankings here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New coaches are in at Advance and Portageville

Both Advance and Portageville have chosen new coaches to head up their boys basketball programs.

At Advance, Risco grad and former all-state basketball player Andrew Halford was approved this week as the new varsity basketball coach. Halford will graduate in May with a physical education degree from Hannibal-LaGrange. He replaces Josh Dowdy, who left the position in March.

At Portageville, coach Jim Bidewell announced his resignation at a school board meeting this week and will leave the position he's held for 28 seasons. Assistant coach Jason Irby will take over the program as its head coach.

Bidewell, who will remain as assistant principal at the high school, leaves his job as the dean of Southeast Missouri basketball coaches. He led the Bulldogs to five state titles, including four in a row from 1991 to 1994 and then again in 2009. He was inducted into the state basketball coaches hall of fame in 2006.

As Portageville's coach since 1982, Bidewell had the longest continuous role as a varsity boys head coach in Southeast Missouri history, three years more than retired Scott County Central coach Ronnie Cookson.

Bidewell won more than 500 games at Portgeville and averaged more than 21 wins each year. The Bulldogs were unbeaten in 1991 and '93, and only two of his teams finished below .500.

Irby brings several years of experience into his role as Bidewell's successor, including seven seasons as head coach at East Prairie. He coached the Eagles to 18 wins in 2005, which at the time was the most for the program since 1986.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Niemczyk's signing is an energy boost for sluggish Southeast

Nick Niemczyk's verbal commitment this week to play basketball at Southeast might be the best news this program has gotten since the addition of Will Bogan (for now, we'll overlook how that marriage went sour not long after it began).

Niemczyk, who started alongside Bogan at Bell City, is a Three Rivers Community College sophomore who gives SEMO its first injection of local talent since Bogan, himself an all-stater who — for better or worse — kept fans interested and talkative. It helped that he grabbed a few rebounds along the way.

With Niemczyk, the Redhawks get a familiar name with local appeal. At 6 feet, he's a sparkplug who averaged about 13 points per game on a TRCC team that finished second in the national tournament last month. He joins two recruits for next season — a 7-foot junior college sophomore and a 6-foot-8 high school senior — who add hefty size.

If this is second-year coach Dickey Nutt's idea of recruiting, the future is looking up.

Friday, April 02, 2010

And two more coaching jobs come open

I've been told in the past two days that at least three more high school boys basketball coaching jobs have come open, bringing the count to 14 so far in the region — and that's less than a month removed from basketball season.

At Hillsboro, Chris O'Connell won't return next season after he stepped down. At Advance, Josh Dowdy was not rehired for the upcoming season. And at Doniphan, Cory Russell will remain as a teacher, but the school has begun a search to fill the basketball coaching job.

Rumors are already floating on familiar names diving into the pool of candidates for both the Advance and Twin Rivers jobs.