GCCC's Chappell resigns to take assistant job at EIU
By ADAM HOLT
The coaching turnover at Garden City Community College continued Wednesday, when men's basketball head coach Rand Chappell submitted his resignation.
Chappell has accepted an assistant coaching position at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Chappell is good friends with Panthers head coach Jay Spoonhour, and played for his father, Charlie, at Southwestern Missouri State.
"I think it's a really good opportunity to get back to the Division I level," Chappell said in a telephone interview. "I guess I haven't been an assistant coach in 20 years, so, often people have asked me what it would take — I've always said, I think that the right person. I feel lucky to get a chance to go work for coach Spoonhour. I've known him really pretty much most of our whole lives. He's a very good coach and a good person, and I think the program there has a chance to really take off and get going."
EIU went 11-21 last season, including 6-10 in Ohio Valley Conference play, in Spoonhour's first year at the helm.
He and Chappell talk regularly, and when some assistants left Eastern Illinois, Spoonhour discussed the possibility of working together more.
"When that happened, Jay really encouraged me, or pursued me harder at that point," Chappell said. "After visiting, it just seemed like a good opportunity."
Chappell was hired last June, and guided the Broncbusters to an 11-20 record in his lone season, including 3-13 in Jayhawk West play. The late hiring left Chappell about six weeks to assemble a recruiting class, and while the Busters had some highlights, such as an upset of then No. 9 Barton, they were inconsistent for much of the season.
Chappell is the third GCCC head coach to resign in the past month, joining volleyball head coach Rob Lutz and women's basketball head coach Alaura Sharp, who will be an assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi starting in June.
"Excited for him to move back into the NCAA ranks," GCCC athletic director Ryan Ruda said. "Definitely much like coach Sharp, anytime you get a chance to advance your career, you have to take those opportunities as they come. Definitely excited for him, and his chances for advancement."
Chappell had a number of recruits signed for the upcoming season, and it's not known how the coaching change will affect those commitments, although Chappell said he doesn't believe the program will lose any of them.
The easiest way to retain them might be if assistant coach Brady Trenkle succeeds Chappell.
Trenkle was head coach at Dodge City Community College prior to joining the Garden City staff last season. Trenkle said last summer that coming to Garden City was fueled partially by his desire to remain in southwest Kansas with his family, and partially because it was a chance to step into a slightly less demanding role.
Ruda said the search for a coach will be open, although Trenkle would be highly considered if he chose to apply.
"Definitley, Brady's one I know that's going to be interested in throwing his hat in the ring as well," Ruda said. "He brings experience, and a lot of knowledge of the Jayhawk, and basketball itself."
Chappell will finish out the month in Garden City before heading to Charleston.
"I've really enjoyed Garden City a lot," Chappell said. "For me, it's hard to leave when I feel like there's unfinished business. I came here to get us in the top of the Jayhawk Conference. With a short amount of time to throw a team together last summer, I was proud of the guys we had, and how hard they worked. But I was looking even more forward to the future, and getting to the championship level.
"I really appreciated the administration, and how supportive they've been. And people across campus are great, it's a great family atmosphere on this campus. People in the community and the BAA and everything have been supportive."