Ben Bartlett’s stint as head football coach of SM North carries the “interim” title no more.
On Friday, the school announced Bartlett would return next season to the head coach role he filled this year. Bartlett was named interim coach this summer after Don Simmons, who coached the Indians for the 2013, abruptly resigned to take a coaching job in Arkansas.
Bartlett has a long history with the Indians program. He graduated from the school in 1998, and returned to teach there nine years ago. He played for the Indians during his high school years, and started coaching as an assistant on the team in 2007.
SM North Principal Richard Kramer said Bartlett had proven in 2014 that he can coach in the Sunflower League.
“North was very competitive and we challenged every opponent,” Kramer said. “Ben brings continuity to our program with a strong sense of community. Ben is more than a football coach; he’s an outstanding teacher and motivator that will not only improve our program but will develop great young men.”
Under Simmons during the 2013 season, the Indians started mostly freshman and sophomores and went 0-9. Under Bartlett this past year, the team struggled early, but finally broke a Sunflower League-record 25-game losing streak against an outmanned Wyandotte High School team in week one of district play. The Indians went on to win another game against another outmatched district opponent the next week when they faced Harmon, and finished the year 2-8. While the record may not have been particularly impressive, the team did show solid progress over the course of the season. Of note, sophomore quarterback Will Schneider led the Sunflower League in passing with nearly 2,000 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns.