Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Coaches snag top headlines at BSHS during past year

December 27, 2006

The time has come for another look at the top sports stories of the year.

Once again the city of Bonner Springs was treated to a memorable run of high school sports during the past year. From championships and school records to new beginnings, supporters of the Braves saw it all during 2006.

Here's a look back at the best and the brightest memories.

BSHS Football Team's New Digs

When yet another bond issue passed in Bonner Springs, members of the Bonner Springs High School football team began a countdown almost immediately.

That countdown, which began nearly a year in advance, centered around the installation of field turf at David Jaynes Field. When the team opened the 2006 season at home against Basehor-Linwood, that's exactly what the players were playing on.

Shortly after the 2005 season ended, the old field was ripped up and work began on the new turf, a dazzling artificial surface used on college and professional fields throughout the country.

The new playing surface wasn't the only upgrade for the BSHS athletic facilities this year.

The football stadium received a new press box and a new track; the baseball field received a new mound and a grass infield, as well as bright orange fence guard to give it that "Braves" look and feel; and the softball field received new sod in the outfield, brand-new cement dugouts and the same fence guard that screams school spirit throughout the complex.

When all was said and done, the BSHS facilities rivaled any in the state for a school the size of BSHS, and brought extreme pride and excitement back to many of the programs that benefited from them.

Kasselman Watch Sweeps City

The rumblings about veteran football coach Lew Kasselman's future with the Braves began as soon as the 2005 season ended.

They reached a fevered peak in the summer of 2006, when the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School District agreed to renew Kasselman's contract for the 2006 season, but included in the contract a clause that said the coach had to win five games or face the possibility of termination at the end of the '06 season.

Being one of the more optimistic and self-confident coaches around, Kasselman signed the contract without pause and pushed forward determined to win six, seven, maybe even eight games.

Sometimes, however, the best-laid plans can go awry and Kasselman's Braves finished the 2006 season with just three victories. However, two of those three victories came in the season's final three games, including a dramatic upset of Turner in the season finale.

Despite falling short of the five-win ultimatum, Kasselman picked up support from parents, players, fans and community members throughout the season.

The wave of support flooded the campus for the season finale, as hundreds of fans wore T-Shirts in support of the coach and dozens of former players and alumni showed up to help the coach's cause.

After the season, school administrators took a long look at their options and a decision about Kasselman's future was dragged out for weeks. At press time, no official word had been released about his prospects for the 2007 season, but several people close to the situation now believe Kasselman will be back next year.

The school has declined to comment, other than saying the recommendations have been sent to the school board and that a decision will likely be made sometime shortly after the board's next meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 8.

Basketball Programs Start Fresh

While one Bonner Springs High School coach fought for his coaching life, two others decided to call an end to their coaching careers.

Shortly after the 2005-2006 season concluded both Garold Baker and Andy Price resigned their posts as head basketball coaches of the BSHS girls and boys programs, respectively.

Baker, who guided the Bravettes for 10 seasons, stepped down to focus further on his duties as the school's athletic director. He left the program on the heels of one of its most exciting games, a four-point thriller in a loss at the sub-state semifinals against archrival Tonganoxie.

Baker finished his career with a record of 99-115 and won 12 or more games five times.

On the boys' side of things, Braves coach Andy Price agonized over his decision, but ultimately decided to step down so he could spend more time with his family.

Price walked away after five seasons with the Braves, seasons that changed the culture of Bonner Springs basketball.

Although his time on the bench was short-lived, Price left with two league titles, an average of 13 wins per season and with his name scribbled into second place on the school's all-time wins list.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.