Following first-year head coach Fred Bourchard’s unexpected resignation a week before the 2018-19 season formally gets under way today, Shawnee Mission East principal Scott Sherman announced Thursday that offensive coordinator Justin Hoover would be taking the helm of the program.
“I am pleased to announce that Justin Hoover will be the new Head Football Coach at Shawnee Mission East,” Sherman said in a message sent to SM East families. “Coach Hoover’s leadership and commitment to the players will help facilitate a smooth transition, as he has already established positive relationships with his players. We are looking forward to a great season.”
Bouchard hired Hoover as the team’s offensive coordinator just weeks after Bouchard was introduced as the Lancers’ new head coach in January. But a job opportunity at a district in Decatur, Illinois, combined with frustrations with parts of the district administration led Bouchard to step down from the role last week before he had ever coached a game for the school.
Hoover, a former college quarterback at Pittsburg State who had spent the past 10 years coaching the offense at Bishop Miege, also runs the Spin It Quarterback Academy, which has worked with top college prospects like Drew Lock and Graham Mertz.
Hoover said he’d been attracted by the opportunity of working with a 6A program at a large public school when he accepted the offensive coordinator position from Bouchard.
“We live close to the school and so I was already familiar with a lot of the people and the school itself, and I thought the challenges of the high school game at the 6A level would be fun,” he said.
While Hoover acknowledges that Bouchard’s departure was unexpected, he said he’d been impressed with how the players and boosters had handled the news and had been “overwhelmed” but the support he’d gotten from the team after being announced as head coach.
“I’m kind of blown away and frankly really grateful for the fact that there’s some trust among the players and that spreads to the parents as well,” he said. “I’m really fired up by the way the players have handled this. I’m looking forward to Monday and to getting back to football for all of us.”