Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds vertTopeka High Trojans

Click on the article titles below to read the full story.
  • 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. 

  • Topeka High product Everett excited to join Pittsburg State coaching staff

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Topeka High standout Tyrell Everett feels like every step he's made in his coaching career has been a step forward.

    TyrellEverettTyrell Everett

    But after basically one-year stints at schools in Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Oklahoma, Everett would like to put down some roots in his new position as defensive line coach at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State.

    "I'm looking forward to having the same address for awhile,'' Everett said during a visit to Topeka. "I'm excited to be back home in Kansas because not many people get to come back home and especially to be a part of a great program like Pitt State.''

    Everett, who played collegiately at Butler Community College and Baker, coached at Butler CC, West Florida as a graduate assistant, Akron (GA), Tulsa (GA), and two separate stints at Clarke University before the Pittsburg State position opened up earlier this spring.

    "Of course you're always interested when it comes to Pitt State, a big-time school, a big-time tradition and being from Kansas it's like a cathedral of football, especially for D-II,'' Everett said. "When I saw that opportunity come iup and I got my shot it was a blessing to even be pulled in for an interview for it.

    "This job, it was something that just kind of fell in my lap. It's one of those things where just being able to build relationships helped me get this job and just being at the right spot at the right time and the right situation.''

    Everett was offered the Pittsburg State position in late May and started on June 1.

    "Everything is just community there and when I first got there it was an open-arm, warm welcome so it felt good to get that Midwest, Kansas hospitality,'' Everett said.

    Everett joins the staff of Brian Wright, who is starting his third season as the Gorillas' head coach, including an 8-3 record in 2021.

    "The staff is unbelievable and there's a reason why they've had tremendous success there in the first two years and they're going to continue to have tremendous success just with the leadership we have from coach Wright at the top on down,'' Everett said.

    In addition to being a position coach Everett will have recruiting duties for the Gorillas.

    "I'll be back in the Topeka area, a little bit in the Lawrence area and probably a little bit in the KC area to a little bit in the Wichita area and just be wherever they need me to go,'' Everett said. "Kansas kids work hard and they deserve to be recruited hard and that's what we're going to do.

    "That's what coach Wright has put an emphasis on is winning locally and that's what we're going to work hard to do.''

    Pittsburg State opens fall camp next Monday and will open its 2022 season on Sept. 1 at home against Central Missouri.

    "We've got a great group of great young men that I'm excited to coach,'' Everett said.

     

     

     

  • 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

  • Schrag tapped for No. 1 spot on TSN Best of the Best Coaches track list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka West legend Joe Schrag garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches track and field list, adding the track honor after being named No. 1 on the cross country Top 10 earlier in the project.

    JoeSchragmugJoe Schrag

    Brad NicksBrad Nicks

    ClaudiaWelchClaudia Welch

    MikeNashMike Nash

    Schrag coached Topeka West track and Field teams to Class 4A state team titles in the now defunct Kansas Indoor Championships in 1975 and 1976 and added Class 6A State Outdoor titles in 1983 and 1984.

    Over his four decades at West Schrag finished with a total of eight state championships, including four state cross country titles.

    Schrag is a member of the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame as well as the Kansas High School Activities Association, Kansas Relays, Topeka Shawnee County and Topeka West halls of fame.

    Former Shawnee Heights coach Brad Nicks earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after leading the T-Birds to 5A boys team titles in 2007 and 2015 and the girls team championship in 2009. Nicks' Heights teams finished second in the girls division in 2019 and was the boys runner-up in 2018 before he moved on to Abilene as head football and boys and girls track coach.

    Former Seaman coach Claudia Welch, former Shawnee Heights coach Mike Nash and former Washburn Rural coach Jerry Beardslee round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list, with all three leading teams to multiple state championships.

    Nicks earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, receiving more than 800 votes, followed by former Highland Park and Topeka High coach Beau Caryl and Schrag 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.

    Hayden multi-time state champ Rick Strecker is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Seaman state champ Bob Camien, multi-time Rossville state champ Jason Broaddus, Caryl and former multi-time state champs Heavy Erwin and Jan Magnuson of Topeka High and Dixie Barb of Highland Park. Erwin, Magnuson and Barb share the No. 10 spot.

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

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST TRACK AND FIELD COACHES

  • City legend Hedberg No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best Coaches tennis list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka tennis legend Kevin Hedberg, who retired this spring after 43 years of high school coaching, earned the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches tennis list.

    KevinHedbergnewRetiring Washburn Rural tennis coach Kevin Hedberg led the Junior Blues to five state team championships and 24 top-three state finishes over a legendary 43-year high school coaching career. [File photo/TSN]

    JamesSandstromnewHayden tennis coach James Sandstrom has led the Wildcat boys to four Class 4A state team titles and 16 top-three state finishes overall in boys and girls tennis. [Submitted]

    CoreyWilsonCorey Wilson

    ConnieRobertsonConnie Robertson 

    Hedberg coached at Washburn Rural the past 32 seasons after an 11-year stint at Seaman, leading the Junior Blues to a Class 6A girls state title in 1993 and boys state championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

    A member of the Topeka Tennis Association Hall of Fame, Hedberg coached singles and doubles champions in both boys and girls tennis while coaching 24 teams (boys and girls combined) to top-three state team finishes. 

    Current Hayden boys coach and former Wildcat girls coach James Sandstrom holds down the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, coaching Hayden to Class 4A boys state championships in 2004, 2005, 2004 and 2019 and 16 teams that have posted top-three finishes in the state tournament, including four state runner-up teams (boys and girls combined).

    Former Topeka West coach Corey Wilson, former Hayden coach Connie Robertson and current Topeka West coach Kurt Davids round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10.

    Sandstrom, Hedberg and Wilson also earned the top three places in the Reader's Choice poll, with Sandstrom claiming the No. 1 spot, followed by Hedberg and Wilson 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 Washburn Rural state championship coach Bob Gladfelter is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Topeka High state champ John MacDonald, former Topeka High coach Larry Reid, Hayden girls coach Christy Sheetz and former Shawnee Heights coach Mike Bass 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 TENNIS COACHES

  • Garman earns No. 1 spot on TSN Best of the Best swimming list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Seaman coach Rod Garman, who coached Seaman to the 2018 Class 5A-1A boys state championship, earned the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches swimming and diving list.

    RodGarmanRod Garman

    elaine pardeeElaine Pardee

    Chet LaneyChet Laney

    JeffHandley 1Jeff Handley

    Seaman's championship season capped an impressive three-year climb for Garman's Vikings, who finished eighth in 2016 and fifth in 2017 before winning the 2018 title by 150 points.

    Garman continues to be heavily involved in the sport as an administrator for the Kansas State High School Activities Association.   

    Former Washburn Rural coach Elaine Pardee, who was the Junior Blues' first swimming coach, holds down the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, followed by the late Chet Laney, a legendary coach at Topeka High.

    Former Washburn Rural and Seaman coach Jeff Handley and former Hayden head coach and current assistant Laura Schmidt round out the top five on the Top 10.

    Current Topeka High coach Kenneth Bennett was a decisive winner in the Reader's Choice poll, while Garman and Schmidt 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 Topeka High coach Gunner Kelly is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Topeka West Hall of Famer Ed Poort, Seaman coach Bernie Tuck, Bennett and former Hayden coach Stephanie Stark 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 SWIMMING 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

  • Hensyel, Kreutzer take top two spots on TSN Best of Best soccer list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Veteran Washburn Rural soccer coach Brian Hensyel, who has not lost to a boys or girls city opponent in more than a decade earned the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches soccer list, edging Hayden legend Klaus Kreutzer who earned the No. 2 spot.

    FWysIl7XwAE Aw3Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel, No. 1 on TSN's Best of the Best soccer list, has not lost to a city opponent in more than a decade while reaching the state championship game nine times. [File photo/TSN]

    KlausKreutzerVeteran Hayden soccer coach Klaus Kreutzer has led the Wildcats to five state titles and eight state championship games. [File photo/TSN]

    Hensyel, who has been Washburn Rural's boys coach for 17 seasons and the girls coach for 16 seasons (2020 season was canceled due to COVID), has not dropped a city boys game since his first season in 2005 and he has not lost to a city girls foe since 2011 while winning two state championships and posting seven second-place finishes in Kansas' largest class.

    Kreutzer is the all-time city leader with five state team championships, leading the Wildcat girls to state titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and the Hayden boys to championships in 2000 and 2012.

    Joe Waldron, who led Topeka High to the city's first state soccer championship in 1997, holds down the No. 3 spot on the Best of the Best list while Shawnee Heights state champ Marc Serrano and Topeka West state champ Tim Collins round out the top five.

    Kreutzer and former Seaman coach Louis De Leonardo earned the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Reader's Choice poll, garnering more than 4,200 votes apiece, while Hensyel 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.

    Longtime former Shawnee Heights coach Mike Balint is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Washburn Rural state champion Lionel Suarez, former Topeka High and Shawnee Heights coach Steve Loy, Di Leonardo and current Cair Paravel coach Doug Woolery 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 SOCCER 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

  • 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