The wait is almost over, football fans.
Incoming SM East principal John McKinney said Tuesday he and a committee will most likely be ready to decide on a replacement for departing football coach Chip Sherman by Tuesday evening. According to McKinney, he and the committee have narrowed down a list of 12 applicants down to just two, who will interview for the position today.
“We feel like the two that we are meeting with represent the best of those that applied,” McKinney said. “And I’m confident that the coach that we choose will come out of the two that we meet with (today.)”
After an initial eye test on the 12 applicants, the committee and McKinney called back six coaches last week for interviews. They then cut that number down to two last week.
“The first round of interviews we wanted to see relationships with players, fellow coaches, community, the administration, kind of their ability to interact and communicate with those different groups,” McKinney said. “Then these second round of interviews will be more X’s and O’s, how do you run these offenses, how do you run these defenses, what adjustments would you make at halftime, those kinds of things.”
According to McKinney, one of the candidates is an external coach and the other is internal. Some possibilities of an internal replacement could be one of Sherman’s assistants from the last few years, which include Jason Filbeck, Miles Martin, Josh Dalton, Zach Fletcher and Chip Ufford. McKinney would not disclose the names of the two potential coaches.
McKinney, who has no previous experience in the athletic department, will use the knowledge and insight of his hand-picked committee to make his final decision. The committee consists of head basketball coach Shawn Hair, Gridiron Club president Jeff Spivak, Athletic Director Sam Brown and four other high ranking officials in the East building and the district.
“My very first thought when we heard from Sherman he wasn’t coming back would be to put together a committee that I felt would be representatives of not just our building and our athletic department and our football program, but also our community parents and students,” McKinney said. “And while I greatly value and appreciate all their insight and help during this process, ultimately the decision will come to me, as the building principal for next year.”
The new coach hiring will be the school’s second in five years since Sherman’s arrival in 2009 when he replaced John Stonner. Sherman finished his coaching career at East with a 25-16 record and took the Lancers to the playoffs his last three seasons, including giving East their first Sunflower League Crown in 44 years.
“We feel like we have something pretty special here, not just at East, but in our football program as well thanks to coach Sherman, so we want someone who is going to take the reins and move us forward,” McKinney said. “I’m letting the interview process run its course. We’re gonna do what’s best for Shawnee Mission East and our football program.”