Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2011

BSHS turns to college ranks for new football coach Aslin

March 10, 2011

A new era of Bonner Springs High School football will begin in the fall, and the Braves will be led by a coach who has proven he can win at both the high school and college levels.

Garden City Community College head coach Lucas Aslin was introduced to players, parents and community members on Friday as the Braves’ new head coach.

Aslin replaces Lew Kasselman who guided the Braves to a 65-81 record and five state playoff appearances in 15 seasons.

Much like his predecessor, Aslin said he hopes to have a long tenure leading the Braves. At 33, Aslin and his wife of almost 10 years have two children, ages 5 and 2, and they hope to raise their family in Bonner Springs.

“I like the Kansas City area quite a bit, but I like not being quite in Kansas City and that the town’s got an identity — it’s a very supportive town,” he said of what appealed to him about coming to the area. “I didn’t want to be at a 6A school. I’m looking for a place to raise my family in a smaller town, and I like the 5A and 4A level where there are more opportunities for kids.”

Aslin knows a thing or two about larger levels. He grew up in Manhattan and played football at Class 6A Manhattan High before playing linebacker at Butler Community College for two years and then moving on to play at Southwestern Okalhoma State University.

From there, he served as a graduate assistant and linebackers coach at Soutwestern Oklahoma State for a year before returning to Butler to join the staff as an outside linebackers and safeties coach.

In 2002, Aslin moved to the high school coaching ranks and spent two seasons as a defensive assistant at Class 6A Derby High School before being promoted to head coach in spring 2004. At 26, he was the youngest 6A head coach in Kansas, and he led Derby to a 7-4 record and a state playoff appearance before the college ranks came calling again.

Aslin spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Garden City Community College before being promoted to head coach in spring 2007.

In four years as Garden City’s head coach, he led the Broncbusters to a 20-18 record and helped produce five National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans, 34 All-Conference performers and three Academic All-Americans.

Ultimately, Aslin said he preferred coaching at the high school level and began pursuing his options.

He was impressed when he interviewed with Bonner Springs and its 10-member selection committee.

“I’ve interviewed with other places, and I walked into the interview and there’s 10 people staring at you. Some people take that as being a little overboard, but I take it as saying, ‘this town cares,’” Aslin said. “They want something big to happen here, and there’s a lot of people invested in the program.”

Aslin said he likes that BSHS has a younger administration that appreciates the fact that although he’s still a young guy, he has “the experience of an older guy since I have five years of head coaching experience.”

Aslin met some of his new players on Friday, and he said he was impressed with them and is looking forward to spending time with them this summer to analyze the returning talent.

He will analyze that talent with a coaching staff that — while not yet organized — could resemble the previous staff quite a bit.

“I interviewed all of the coaches on staff when I got up there the other day,” Aslin said. “Coach Kasselman had a good staff around him. I’d like to think I will retain most of those guys. It might not be at the same position some of them previously worked with. Nothing’s been decided, but that stuff will work itself out (in the future).”

Aslin said there’s a good chance he’ll be involved with coaching on both sides of the ball during his first year at the helm while he develops chemistry with his coaching staff, but in particular he likely will focus on defense. That’s been his specialty, and he said he prefers to run a 3-4 defense and bring pressure after the opposing quarterback.

For now, Aslin is counting the days until the end May. He hopes to be settled into a new home in Bonner Springs by the first of June so he can get started with a summer program that will include lots of strength and conditioning work and individual instruction for players. He also plans to run a youth camp in the summer, and ultimately Aslin wants to develop a deeper youth football program so kids in the community — his included — can grow up playing football and be more prepared for middle school and high school football.

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