Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds vertSilver Lake Eagles

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  • Shawnee County high schools confirm 19 new head coaches for 2022-2023

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Silver Lake's Logan Pegram and Washburn Rural's Brad Johnston, who are taking over retiring Kansas coaching legends C.J. Hamilton and Kevin Hedberg, are part of a group of 19 new varsity head coaches who have been announced by Shawnee County high schools for the 2022-2023 school year.

    BradJohnston1Brad Johnston will take over as Washburn Rural's tennis coach in 2022-2023, replacing Kevin Hedberg who retired after 32 years at the school. [File photo/TSN]

    825193F2 0FA2 4486 AE6F 66D359D80844Logan Pegram

    AlexHutchinsmugAlex Hutchins

    Pegram, a former Silver Lake standout, takes over as the Eagles' head football coach for Hamilton, the state's winningest football coach, who retired after 47 years at the school, while Johnston is the new Washburn Rural girls and boys tennis coach, replacing Hedberg, who led the Junior Blues to five state team championships in 32 seasons and coached a total of 43 years at Seaman and Rural.

    Joining Johnston as a new head coach for Washburn Rural is former Hays boys basketball coach Alex Hutchins, who is taking over as the Junior Blues' boys basketball coach from Kevin Muff. 

  • Silver Lake legend Lon Kruger happy to be home for KSHSAA Coaching School

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Basketball has taken Lon Kruger all over the world, but Silver Lake and the Topeka area will always be home.

    FZGp7UBWQAENZiRHall of Fame basketball coach Lon Kruger returned to his local roots Monday, giving the keynote address to open the KSHSAA Coaching School. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    On Monday the member of the 2022 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class returned to his roots, serving as keynote speaker to open the 88th annual Kansas State High School Activities Association Coaching School at the Hotel Topeka at City Center.

    "I appreciate the opportunity to come back home,'' said Kruger, who retired in 2021 at Oklahoma after 45 seasons in coaching. "Obviously I grew up in Silver Lake and the Topeka area and spent the first 18 years of my life here, so when Fran (Martin of the KSHSAA) called last fall to invite me to come back, I quickly said yes because any excuse I have to get back in this area I always look forward to it.

    "Driving in last night I saw Stormont Vail on the building next door and I was born just down the road here in Stormont Vail Hospital in 1952.''

    The former star point guard at Silver Lake and Kansas State had college coaching stints at Texas Pan-American, K-State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma and Kruger was the first coach to lead five schools to NCAA Tournament wins, finishing with an overall record of 674-432.

    And Kruger, who also had a stint in the NBA as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, is quick to credit his upbringing for starting him on the path to success.

     "It was the best of all circumstances,'' Kruger said. "It was the best environment. I didn't fully realize it at the time, but when I look back I could not imagine a better, more idyllic situation growing up. I had a family that was all about family, parents that were all about their kids, a community that was huge in athletics at Silver Lake. Mom and dad were all about other people and doing things for others and relationships so I think that gave me the foundation, the core that I've really tried to take advantage of throughout life.''

  • History-making Parker No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best wrestling list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Damon Parker, who has coached Washburn Rural to three state team championships, garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches wrestling list.

    Damon ParkerDamon Parker has led Washburn Rural to three state wrestling team championships, including a pair of girls crowns. [File photo/TSN]

    ChadParksChad Parks, with 2022 state champ Maranda Bell, has had a highly-successful run as Shawnee Heights' boys and girls wrestling coach. [File photo/TSN]

    Parker led Washburn Rural's girls to state team championships in 2020 and 2021, the first two seasons girls wrestling was an official Kansas State High School Activities Association sport, and led the Junior Blues to their first boys team championship in 2021, the first state boys team title by a Shawnee County team.

    Parker led Rural's boys to state runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2020 and the Rural girls to a runner-up finish this past season. while coaching eight state individual champions, including three multi-time state champs.

    Parker stepped down as Rural's boys coach after the 2021 season but is still coaching the girls team.

    Current Shawnee Heights coach Chad Parks was tapped for the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, coaching multiple state champions and six T-Bird teams who have finished in the top eight in the Class 5A team standings, including a second-place team finish in 2011 .

    Farmer Shawnee Heights coach Robert Gonzales, former Washburn Rural coach Ray Glaze and former Rossville coach Curt Brecheisen round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list.

    Parks and Gonzales earned the top two spots in the Reader's Choice poll, combining for more than 2,800 votes, followed by former Topeka High coach and current Shawnee Heights assistant Erich Singer and Parker in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former Seaman coach Dennis Switzky is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Silver Lake coach Harry LaMar, current Washburn Rural state champion coach Josh Hogan, former Seaman coach Pat Kelly and former Topeka High coach Beau Vest to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST WRESTLING COACHES

  • Seven-time state champ Bordewick No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best volleyball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Kevin Bordewick, who has led Washburn Rural to seven Class 6A state volleyball championships and nine state titles as a head coach, garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches volleyball list.

    KevinBordewickWRKevin Bordewick has coached Washburn Rural to seven Class 6A state volleyball championships and nine state titles as a head coach overall. [File photo/TSN]

    staff 0027 JesicaFarmerWalterFormer Hayden coach Jesica Farmer-Walter led the Wildcats to five state volleyball championships. [Hayden Catholic High School]

    Bordewick led the Junior Blues to four straight championships from 2006-2009 and added titles in 2004, 2011 and 2012.

    Washburn Rural is 937-220 in 27 seasons under Bordewick, with 23 state tournament appearances. He has a 984-260 career record in 30 seasons.

    The veteran coach has also won 6A state basketball titles in 2019 and this past season and Bordewick has been a part of 12 state championships overall, serving as an assistant coach for Rural's three state basketball titles under former coach Bill Annan.

    Former Hayden coach Jesica Farmer-Walter earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after leading the Wildcats to five state championships in the Class 4A and 4A-Division II ranks.

    Farmer Silver Lake coach Angie Bittner, current Silver Lake coach Sarah Johnson and former Shawnee Heights coach Kerry Kapfer round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list, with Bittner, Johnson and Kapfer combining for 11 state championships.

    Farmer-Walter earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, receiving more than 850 votes, followed by Johnson and Bordewick in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former Shawnee Heights state champ Laura Curry is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Rossville coach Cathy Foote, former Hayden coach Susan Dickerson, former Seaman coach Erica (Cowhick) Book and current Seaman coach Tatiana (Schafer) Dowling to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST VOLLEYBALL COACHES

  • Holaday tapped for No. 1 spot on TSN Best of the Best softball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Washburn Rural softball coach Brenda Holaday, who led the Junior Blues to a 351-93 record, 16 Class 6A state tournament berths and seven state championship games before moving on to Washburn University, earned the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches softball list.

    BrendaHoladayBrenda Holaday coached Washburn Rural to multiple Class 6A state softball championships before moving on to a successful career at Washburn University. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    12790933 1125419694156752 5813159548735636566 nLee Schmidt

    Holaday went over the 500-win mark for career victories in the 2022 season, leading the Ichabods to the MIAA regular-season title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

    Holaday served as an assistant on Rural's state championship team in 1995 and led the Junior Blues to titles in 2008 and 2014 as well as five second and three third-place state finishes.

    All 10 coaches in the TSN Best of the Best Top 10 led teams to state championships, including eight who won multiple state titles.

    Lee Schmidt, who led Hayden to three Class 4A state championships, holds down the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Silver Lake coaches Bob Craig and Mark Workman, who led the Eagles to four state titles apiece, and former Shawnee Heights coach Steve Giddens.

    Silver Lake, one of the state's most dominant softball programs, put a total of four coaches in the Top 10, with No. 8 Brad Womack winning three championships and No. 9 Dave Boxberger two.

    Holaday and Topeka High coach Shane Miles earned the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Reader's Choice poll, while Seaman state championship coach Jay Monhollon ranked third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Two-time Shawnee Heights state champ Tara Griffith is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Miles, Womack, Boxberger and Monhollon to round out the Top 10..

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST SOFTBALL COACHES

  • Rural's Goehring takes No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches golf list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural coach Jared Goehring, former Rural coach Jeff Stromgren and former Hayden coach Dan Key, who combined for 12 state championships in girls and boys golf, swept the top three positions on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches golf list.

    FYdHxxiXEAARbu Current Washburn Rural golf coach Jared Goehring has led the Junior Blues to five state titles and 13 top-three state finishes. [File photo/TSN]

    stromgrenJeff Stromgren coached Washburn Rural to boys and girls state golf championships before coaching Washburn University men's golf for nine seasons. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    DanKeyFormer Hayden coach Dan Key coached the Wildcats to five state golf titles (four girls, one boys). [Submitted]

    Goehring, who has led Washburn Rural to four Class 6A state girls titles as well as a boys championship in Kansas' largest class, earned the No. 1 spot on the Best of the Best list while No. 2 Stromgren led the Junior Blue boys and girls teams to 6A titles before moving on to the college level at Washburn University and Key coached Hayden to four 4A girls titles and one boys crown.

    Rounding out the top five are former Shawnee Heights head coach and current Topeka West assistant Lynn Riney and the late Don Williams, who coached Washburn Rural's boys to a 6A championship in 1997..

    Stromgren and Goehring, who served as an assistant under Stromgren, earned the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Reader's Choice poll, garnering more than 2,000 votes, while Key ranked third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former two-time Hayden state champ Denis Stanley is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Topeka West coach Jack Wiley, former Shawnee Heights coach Steve Giddens, former Silver Lake coach Alan Cunningham and former Topeka West coach Frank Walton to round out the Top 10..

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST GOLF COACHES

  • State's winningest coach takes No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches football list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Retiring Silver Lake football coach C.J. Hamilton earned the No. 1 spot on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches list after ending his 47-year high school coaching career as the winningest coach in Kansas history and No. 15 all-time in the nation.

    CJ HamiltonFormer Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton is the winningest coach in Kansas history and ranked No. 15 nationally with 447 wins. [Submitted photo]

    RonBowenbookFormer Washburn Rural coach Ron Bowen led the Junior Blues to three Class 5A state titles and a 6A runner-up finish during a 23-year stint at the school. [Submitted photo]

    Hammes2 2Rossville coach Derick Hammes has led the Bulldawgs to five state titles over the past eight seasons. [File photo/TSN]

    Hamilton posted a career record of 447-98, leading the Eagles to eight state championships and reaching 18 state championship games.

    Hamilton's victory total, titles and championship game appearances are all Kansas records while his 447 wins rank No. 15 all-time nationally.

    Washburn Rural legend Ron Bowen, who won 156 games with three Class 5A state titles and a 6A runner-up finish in his 23-year career with the Junior Blues, earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, just ahead of Rossville coach Derick Hammes, the most dominant coach in the county over the past decade with five state titles in eight seasons.

    Rounding out the top five are Seaman legend Chuck Logan, who recorded seven undefeated seasons in the 1920s and 1930s, and former Hayden coach Tom Stringer, who led the Wildcats to a pair of undefeated 4A state titles.

    Hammes earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, garnering more than 2,000 votes, while former Topeka High coach Walt Alexander and Bowen finished second and third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Current Hayden coach Bill Arnold, who has a state title and three state runner-up finishes, is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list while Topeka High's Buck Weaver, who won 100 games and had three undefeated seasons in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, is No. 7.

    Former Topeka High coach Walt Alexander is No. 8 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Topeka West Hall of Famer Frank Walton and former Rossville and current Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST FOOTBALL COACHES

  • Schrag earns No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches cross country list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Topeka West coach Joe Schrag, who earned not only state but national acclaim for a legendary career that spanned more than four decades, earned the No. 1 spot on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Coaches list for cross country, narrowly edging out former Hayden perennial state contenders Kathy Strecker and Ben Meseke.

    JoeSchragFormer Topeka West coach Joe Schrag has been honored by five halls of fame for his legendary four-decade career with the Chargers, winning eight state championships in cross country and track. [Submitted]

    KathyStreckerFormer Hayden coach Kathy Strecker led the Wildcat girls to six state titles over three decades before moving on to the college level at Rockhurst. [Hayden High]

    BenMesekeBen Meseke

    BobCamienBob Camien

    Schrag coached West's boys for 41 seasons and the Charger girls for 29, earning induction into the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame as well as four other halls of fame.

    Schrag led West to four state championships as well as five second-place finishes and coached West to a total of eight state championships in cross country and track and field.

    Strecker and Meseke were a one-two coaching punch for Hayden, with the Wildcat legends leading Hayden to six state championships apiece spanning three decades.

    Rounding out the top five are former Seaman coach Bob Camien and current Viking coach Rick Brading, who both led Seaman teams to state titles.

    Schrag also earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, winning by more than 600 votes, while current Washburn Rural coach Matt Swedlund and Strecker finished second and third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former longtime Washburn Rural coach Scott Shufelberger is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list while his former star runner, Swedlund, is No. 7.

    Longtime former Shawnee Heights coach Fred Wiens is No. 8, followed by Bob Karr and Ken Darting, who led Seaman's boys and Silver Lake's girls to state championships in the late 1970s.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST CROSS COUNTRY COACHES

  • Meseke, Darting lead way on TSN Best of Best Coaches men's basketball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Two of the most recognizable names in Kansas high school sports ended up No. 1 and No. 2 on the TopSports.news Best of the Best Coaches list for men's basketball.

    BenMesekenewBen Meseke coached Hayden to six state basketball titles and 12 state championships overall. [MacfeeSports.com]

    KenDartingnew2Ken Darting has coached five teams to state boys basketball championships, including four at Highland Park. [File photo/TSN]

    WillieNicklinnew2The late Willie Nicklin compiled over 500 career basketball wins and led Topeka High to a pair of state titles. [Submitted photo]

    CraigCoxBBnewCurrent Seaman basketball coach Craig Cox has led five teams to state championships in basketball and baseball, including the Class 5A basketball title this past season. [File photo/TSN]

    Former Hayden coach Ben Meseke, who led the Wildcats to six state basketball championships and a Shawnee County-high 12 state titles overall, earned the No. 1 spot by the narrowest of margins over former Silver Lake and Highland Park state championship coach Ken Darting, who coached the Eagles and Scots to five state basketball titles and six championships overall, and is still adding to his coaching legacy as the current Shawnee Heights coach.

    Both Meseke and Darting are members of multiple halls of fame, including the Topeka Shawnee County Hall of Fame, as is the late Willie Nicklin, a Topeka High coaching legend who earned the No. 3 position on the Best of the Best list.

    Current Seaman coach Craig Cox, who coached two state championship basketball and baseball teams at Shawnee Heights and added a third state basketball title at Seaman this past season, holds down the No. 4 spot while former Highland Park coach Randy Springs, who won a pair of state titles and a Grand State championship with the Scots, rounds out the top five. 

    Cox also earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, edging out Darting and Nicklin in balloting by TSN readers.

    Eight members of the Best of the Best Top 10 earned at least one state championship, with six winning multiple titles.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    The late Bob Bodenheimer, who led Shawnee Heights to back-to-back Class 5A state championships in the 1980s, ended up No. 6 on the Best of the Best Coaches list, followed by former Hayden coaches Ted Schuler and Ken Bueltel, former Washburn Rural coach Larry Longhofer and current Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist to round out the Top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S BASKETBALL COACHES

  • Annan tapped for No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches women's basketball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman's 

    A solid case could be made for several candidates to garner the top spot inTopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Coaches list for women's basketball, including three coaches who won three or more state championships.

    But after winning three state titles and reaching five state championship games in Kansas' largest class and going on to a long career as a NCAA Division I assistant, the nod for No. 1 goes to former Washburn Rural coach Bill Annan.

    BillAnnannewBill Annan led Washburn Rural to three Class 6A girls state basketball titles before moving on to the Division I level as an assistant coach. [Oklahoma State Athletics]

    LorenZieglerFormer Silver Lake coach Loren Ziegler led the Eagles to five girls state basketball titles. [Silver Lake Schools]

    RickStreckeractionFormer Hayden coach Rick Strecker led the Wildcats to three girls basketball ttiles and five state crowns overall. [Submitted photo]

    Former Silver Lake coach Loren Ziegler garnered the No. 2 position after winning five 3A titles over a 33-year span while former Hayden coach Rick Strecker ended up No. 3 after winning three 4A championships. 

    Former Topeka West coach Mike Goehring, who won 6A and 5A titles and also posted a runner-up finish in 6A, earned the No. 4 position while current Washburn Rural coach Kevin Bordewick rounds out the top five, leading the Junior Blues to two 6A championships since 2019, including the 2022 title.

    Strecker earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, while Goehring finished No. 2 and current Shawnee Heights coach Bob Wells No. 3 in balloting by TSN readers

    Nine members of the Best of the Best Coaches list earned at least one state championship, with five winning multiple titles.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former Seaman coach Ron Vinduska, former Shawnee Heights coach Mark Henry and former Topeka High coach Ted Juneau hold down the No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 Best of the Best spots, with all three coaches earning state championships.

    No. 9 on the Best of the Best list is former Hayden coach Doug Finch, who led the Wildcats to a state title and a pair of runner-up finishes, while former Topeka High coach Hannah Alexander closes out the top 10 after leading the Trojans to four straight 6A semifinal berths, with a pair of state runner-up finishes..

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACHES