By BRETT MARSHALL
If coaching pedigree is any indication of what's in store for the Holcomb Lady Longhorns basketball program, then the hiring Thursday night of Kenton Tennal to replace Kelley Snodgrass will prove to be the right direction.
Snodgrass resigned in late March to accept a similar position at Class 6A Dodge City High School. During her tenure at Holcomb, the Lady Longhorns were 84-49, including a 51-16 mark her final three seasons.
Tennal, a native of Centralia and a soon-to-be graduate of Southwestern College in Winfield, comes from a coaching family where his father, Kimbrook, guided the Centralia girls basketball and volleyball programs to three and 10 state championships, respectively.
This past basketball season, Tennal was a Rule 10 head boys basketball coach at Dexter/Cedar Vale High School, where his team posted an 8-14 record.
Tennal was approved by the USD 363 Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday night, and he also will be teaching physical education and computer applications at Holcomb Middle School.
"He's an impressive young man," said Jerry Johnson, Holcomb athletic director. "You can tell he's a coach's son, just by talking to him about practices, organization of a program. He fits into the teaching position that was offered, and I believe he's extremely knowledgeable."
Tennal will inherit a Lady Longhorns team that finished its final season under Snodgrass with a 17-7 record and a berth in the Class 3A state tournament, where they lost in the first round to Burlington. All 12 players from that team return to the roster for next season.
Johnson said the school received about a dozen applications for the coaching position, and the committee interviewed five of those candidates the week of April 16.
"We had really good interviews, and I think we had several good candidates that any one of them would have been a good hire," Johnson said. "We just felt like Kenton rose to the top of the group. He brings a wealth of experience in sports to our program."
While playing at Central High School, Tennal was an all-state football and basketball player and also was a state champion pole vaulter and contender in the javelin.
"He plans on getting out here as soon as possible to meet the players, the parents and people of Holcomb," Johnson said. "Obviously, looking at our program, we've got a great group of girls coming back. It's not a program that's down. When you're in that position, you're going to get some really good candidates, and we did. I'm really excited to have him coming."
Johnson said that the coaching success of Tennal's father puts him in a unique position as he prepares to take over a program that Snodgrass built over her six seasons.
"He's been in a program that was successful, and I believe that success breeds success," Johnson said. "That was a big quality that he had that we liked."
While completing his degree in education at Southwestern, Tennal also has served as an assistant track coach at Winfield High School. He began his college education at Peru State (Neb.) and then transferred to Bethel College in North Newton, before moving to Southwestern College.
Scott City hires NE-Arma coach
Lori Murphy, the head girls basketball coach at Northeast-Arma High School for the past two seasons, has been hired by Scott Community High School to guide the Lady Beavers program in 2012-13.
Murphy takes over from Mark Campos, who resigned at the end of the 2012 season, after three seasons with the Beavers. Campos was 25-38 in his three seasons, but cited traveling difficulties between his job at Garden City Community College and Scott City as the reason for his resignation.
A year prior, the Scott City school district had eliminated his ESL Coordinator's position and he subsequently was hired at GCCC.
Murphy's teams at Northeast have posted records of 6-15 and 8-13 the past two seasons. She is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and will be a Scott City Middle School physical education instructor.
Previously, she was a junior varsity girls basketball coach at Frontenac High School and also has been an assistant softball coach at Northeast.
"Coach Murphy has coaching experience and experience with developing fundamental basketball skills," Randy Huck, Scott City athletic director, said. "We are looking for her to bring enthusiasm and leadership to our female athletes."
Huck said Murphy's background also includes organizing and conducting summer weights and conditioning programs at Northeast Arma.
"She will be a role model in the conditioning program that her athletes can follow, and we believe this will help improve all our programs," Huck said.