A few coaching spots were filled – and created – during this past month on the high school basketball front in Kansas City.
David Birch, who guided Piper to a 22-1 mark and into the Kansas Class 4A semifinals in his first year as head coach, was named the Shawnee Mission Northwest head coach a couple weeks ago.
With the vacancy, a familiar face return to Piper, which endured five head coaches over the past decade, despite each enjoying trips to the state tourney.
Steve Wallace, who coached Piper from 2012-2014, returns to PHS after a windy road since guiding the Pirates to a 32-13 mark and a state tourney appearance in his tenure.
“I’m excited to be back at a school and community that gave me my start and loves basketball,” Wallace stated. “We went from winning two games in 2012 to winning 17 games the next season. Piper basketball has continued to excel since then.”
The Pirates certainly have, with the 2019 state championship under Toure Grimes, and the 22-1 record this past year.
“We want to continue to build on the success and make Piper basketball a consistent winner, both on and off the court.”
But Wallace knows a few things about state titles. After leaving Piper, Wallace served as an assistant coach with the Kansas women’s basketball team before returning to the high school ranks in 2015 with Shawnee Heights. Two years later, the Thunderbirds won the state title with a 22-3 record and earned the 2017 Kansas Coach of the Year by a few media outlets.
Wallace then sauntered down to Gardner-Edgerton as the Blazers head coach for two years, before returning back to Piper.
Down the road, Mill Valley filled the vacancy left by Mike Bennett’s departure to Staley. Bennett took the helm at Mill Valley in 2014, and led the Jaguars to the Class 5A state title in 2016.
Assistant Kurt Bangle takes the helm for the Jaguars, who finished with a 7-14 mark in 2020.
I'm excited to announce that pending board approval, I will be Mill Valley's next boy's basketball head coach! Beyond blessed with the opportunity and can't wait to get back to work with the guys!— Kurt Bangle (@CoachBangle) May 13, 2020
Blue Valley Northwest looks to name John Hilton as its athletic director. Hilton served as the Lions athletic director for the past two years. Before LHS, Hilton spent four years as a PE teacher and assistant football coach at Olathe north, and six years as an assistant principal, activities director and assistant football coach at Bonner Springs.
On the Missouri side, Kirk Stegeman moves down I-35 from Kearney to Winnetonka. The Bulldogs took third place in Class 4 in 2016, and advanced to the Class 4 quarterfinals in 2017 in the four years under Stegeman.
Belton replaced Brady Hammond as boys basketball coach with Dillon Tenholder, who was the head basketball coach at St. Elizabeth for the last three years. The Hornets reach the semis in Missouri Class 1 in 2019 with a 23-5 record, then finished second this past year at 25-6.
“I look forward to building excitement and pride in the Pirate basketball program,” Tehnolder said on the Belton district page. “We want to build a program the community is excited about and takes pride in on and off the court.”
Belton also sees George Shrum return at athletic director for the upcoming year. Shrum has previously held roles in Belton as a physical education teacher at Yeokum Middle School and Belton High School, Belton Middle School Assistant Principal and Activity Director at both BMS and BHS.