Dustin Delaney resigns as SM East head football coach, cites frustrations with district athletic administration

Jay Senter - November 13, 2017 11:00 am
Friday's game against Blue Valley North was Delaney's last leading the Lancers.
Friday’s game against Blue Valley North was Delaney’s last leading the Lancers. Photo by Andrew Poland.

The most successful leader in program history has coached his last football game at SM East.

Dustin Delaney, who arrived in Prairie Village in 2013 and immediately transformed a program that had been mired in something less than mediocrity for decades into a perennial contender for the state title, informed his team this morning that he has resigned as the Lancers head coach.

Delaney congratulated his team after their win in the state 6A title game in 2014.
Delaney congratulated his team after their win in the state 6A title game in 2014.

Delaney said mounting frustrations with administration of the athletic programs in the Shawnee Mission School District factored heavily into the decision.

“What led me to resign was things that I saw people doing at the district level that were not in the best interest of kids,” he said. “When it became clear that some of the decisions they were making were more about the adults involved than the students, I decided I couldn’t be a part of that.”

Delaney said he couldn’t get into specifics on some of the issues that concerned him because of a desire to protect the identity of the students involved, but that he didn’t think district administrators had taken the well-being of students into consideration in a handful of instances over the past couple of years.

Though he told his team about the resignation this morning — three days after they were knocked out of the state playoffs by Blue Valley North — Delaney tendered his resignation Aug. 31, the day of the varsity team’s first game of the year, a 28-6 win over Olathe South.

“We worked hard all season, we set out to win every single game we played in, but I knew that I could not support some of the decisions that were negatively impacting our kids,” he said.

Delaney took over as Lancers head coach after the abrupt departure of Chip Sherman in 2013. Lancer fans weren’t sure what to expect from the young coach, who arrived in Shawnee Mission after three years leading the team at Emporia High School. But under his “flexbone” offense, the Lancers surprised everyone and made it to the school’s first state title game Delaney’s first year. His second season, the Lancers won the first football championship in school history. They made substate last year, and finished in the quarterfinals his other two seasons. Delaney ends his five-year tenure at SM East with a 52-8 record. Only Glen Percy, who did two stints as the Lancers head coach for a total of 16 years, has more program wins with an overall record of 68-69.

As for what’s next, Delaney said he has no idea. He’ll remain a physical education teacher at SM East through the end of the year.

“After that, I don’t know. I literally have no plans,” he said. “I might not even coach next year. After dealing with some of the things from our district, it’s kind of made it sour to do my job every day.”

He said the decision was especially difficult because of his family’s ties to the SM East community. His wife Heidi also teaches at SM East. His two daughters attend elementary school in the SM East area.

“I love the SM East community and love our building administrators and [Principal] Dr. [John] McKinney,” Delaney said. “This was a really hard decision but one I thought I had to get made.”

Delaney celebrated the Lancers' record-setting 2013 season, which saw the team make its first ever title game appearance, at the team banquet.
Delaney celebrated the Lancers’ record-setting 2013 season, which saw the team make its first ever title game appearance, at the team banquet.

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