The KCAC’s 10 teams brought out their head coaches for Media Day on Wednesday in Old Town in Wichita — the first time the event has been outside of Salina in a couple of decades. Here’s short breakdowns of what the coaches said, and this:
Saint Mary (2012 record: 6-5 overall, 6-3 KCAC): It’s going to be really hard to replace QB Mike Keese, last year’s KCAC offensive player of the year and a three-year starter. Coach Lance Hinson says it’s a three-way battle to replace Keese. Whoever ends up being the man will have All-KCAC WR Jerrell Young (971 yds, 9 TDs) to throw to. “Jerrell has the best hands of any player I’ve ever coached,” Hinson said.
Kansas Wesleyan (6-5, 6-3): KW coach Dave Dallas is the dean of KCAC coaches — he’s been there for 17 years. It’s been a long time since the Yotes have been one of the betteer teams in the league, however. Dallas’ son, senior QB Trey Dallas, needs just 1,300 yards to become KW’s career leader in total offense. All 5 starters back on the o-line.
McPherson (4-5, 4-4): Second-year coach Pete Sterbick had a lot to deal with last year, and very little of it had to do with what was going on on the football field. “I dealt with some things I never thought I would have to,” Sterbick said. “And I hope I never have to again.” Out of 90 players on last year’s team, only 36 are back. Sterbick says that’s a good thing.
Southwestern (4-7, 3-6): Head coach Ken Crandall says he’s going to take over as “true” offeensive coordinator this year. Defensive back/returner Lorenzo Fouts could be an All-American before it’s all said and done — exciting player. Crandall’s son, Tyler, could be starting QB for Builders.
Ottawa (10-1, 8-1): The dominant team in the KCAC over the last 5 years, and the only team in the league that shows the ability to compete on the national level. Coach Kent Kessinger has won 3 KCAC titles in 9 seasons and returns 6 starters on offense and 3 on defense. They play toughest schedule I’ve ever seen a KCAC team play – - open against two nationally-ranked
Bethany (4-7, 2-7): New coach Manny Matsakis has as impressive a resume as any coach to come to KCAC — former head coach at Texas State and Emporia State and offensive coordinator for Winnipeg in the CFL. Expecting about 108 guys for training camp on Sunday — said he had to recruit “all new guys” in order to play the way he wants to play. Which I’m guessing is pretty fast. The Oregon of small-college football? Maybe someday.
Sterling (3-7, 3-6): The Warriors have been under .500 the last two seasons after being pretty competitive among the league’s best previous to that. Sterling went 3-7 last season, which was an improvement off 2011′s 1-11 disaster. Coach Andy Lambert’s take? “I wake up every morning and I can’t believe I get paid to do what I do … I love this job. Love this game.” Still needs to win some more games.
Friends (6-5, 5-4): Friends coach Monty Lewis has struggled to get the Falcons back to the national elite since going 10-0 during 2008 regular season. Lewis went on an epic rant in his time at the dais … so wonderful that I’m not going to get too much into it here. Just wait, we’ll get to it.
Bethel (0-10, 0-9): First-year coach Marty Mathis has an incredibly daunting task — the Threshers have been as bad as any team in the NAIA lately. This is his first head-coaching job and he was an assistant at NAIA national champ Marian last year. Dad was an NBA ref and brother, Monty, is an assistant coach for Dallas Mavericks. Only have 22 players back.
Tabor (8-2, 7-1): Tabor coach Mike Gardner went through every coach’s nightmare last year — a player murdered. He handled it with grace and dignity and brought the community and team together. And his team this year? They’re going to be really, really good behind preseason All-KCAC picks QB Simon McKee and RB James Monroe Jr.