The coaching staff assembled for Southwest Junior High's inaugural season this fall didn't have to travel far for their new jobs.
The five varsity head coaches -- Skip Bennett, Patty Coffey, Dave Drennan, Kristin Mallory and Paul Tinder -- already coached and taught at other Lawrence schools before accepting their new positions.
Bennett, Coffey and Drennan came from South Junior High; Mallory from West; and Tinder from Lawrence High.
"I think we're very fortunate and (Southwest principal) Dr. (Trish) Bransky did a fine job with the selection process," said Pete McDonald, Southwest's athletic director. "First of all, I think we have great teachers who are going to do a good job in the classroom and that translates into good coaches."
The staff will have quality facilities, according to McDonald. The football field has been seeded, although work on the track that will encircle the field has been delayed because of rain.
"As far as facilities for a junior high, they're awful nice," McDonald said. "It looks like it's going to be a very nice facility and something the kids and town can be proud of."
McDonald is also established in Lawrence. He taught at the high school and West for three years. He is an assistant for the LHS track team, tutoring pole vaulters and javelin throwers.
Here's a capsule of the five head coaches of the Bulldogs, whose school colors are silver and Navy blue.
(Football, boys track)
Bennett comes to Southwest after handling various duties in his four years at South.
"What makes it easier is there are a lot of good people coming from South," Bennett said of the transition. "We were so overpopulated at South. It's good for the kids. Regardless of total number of great athletes, it's going to give more kids a chance to participate."
Bennett is an '81 graduate of Kansas University. He will teach freshman English and advanced English.
The highlight of the year will be when Southwest plays South.
"It's a healthy respect," Bennett said. "I'm going to tell my kids before we play South, you're going against a great team and great people. The kids and coaches are good."
He and his wife, Kelly, have two children, Natalie, 9, and Mike, 4.
(Volleyball, girls track)
Coffey, a '83 Baker graduate, taught at South for seven years.
"I was looking for some head coaching opportunities and the challenges of opening a new building," said Coffey, who has been involved in coaching for 12 years. I've always been interested in sports. In high school (at Ottawa), I participated in gymnastics and track. When I applied for my first job, they asked, 'How do you feel about coaching?' I said fine and ever since then I've loved it."
Coffey teaches algebra and geometry.
She is married to Shaun Coffey, a Lawrence fireman. They have three children -- Christopher, 8; Patrick, 4; and Elisa, 2.
Drennan's athletic claim to fame was wrestling for the University of Missouri.
"I did all right," said Drennan, who wrestled at 190 and 220 pounds. "It's nothing to brag about."
Drennan, a 1981 MU grad, lettered three years for the Tigers. His coach, Bob Kopnisky, was a major influence.
"I had a lot of respect for him and the discipline he required us to have," Drennan said.
Drennan's college roommate, Wes Roper, replaced Kopnisky when he resigned in 1986 and still coaches the Tigers.
Drennan, a Winfield native, taught and coached the past 11 years at South. He will teach explorations in technology as well as materials and processes at Southwest.
Drennan admitted coaching against his former team will be awkward.
"It's going to be hard," said Drennan, who was an assistant football coach, too. "About half my team came over here. It's going to be fun, too."
During the summer, Drennan builds furniture for the school district and he golfs. He also is an assistant for the Lawrence High track team, tutoring the shot put and discus throwers.
Drennan lives in Tonganoxie with his wife, Marilee, and daughters, Elise and Eva. Elisa turns 5 years old next month and Eva will celebrate her first birthday in July.
(Tennis and girls basketball)
Coaching runs in Mallory's family.
"I've always been involved in sports," Mallory said. "My dad (Leonard Scheufler) was a coach at Wellington."
Besides being the head coach in tennis and girls basketball, Mallory will assist with volleyball.
Mallory will teach physical education at Southwest.
"I was real lucky to get in at West and more lucky to get to the new school," Mallory said. "I'm anxious to build my own program."
Mallory is a '92 graduate of Ottawa University, where she was an all-District 10 player while playing shooting guard. She still volunteers as an assistant for Patty Mastin at Ottawa.
Mallory and her husband, Mike, live in Ottawa.
The Southwest job will be Tinder's first head coaching position. He was assistant for the LHS girls basketball team for five years.
"I think it's a unique opportunity," said Tinder, who will also teach history. "It's a chance to create tradition and start from scratch. I've always wanted to be a head coach and that was also appealing."
Tinder's coaching roots began in Iowa. He was a volunteer assistant for four years at a high school in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He graduated from Northern Iowa in '89 after attending Mount Pleasant High in Iowa.
He walked on to the Northern Iowa basketball team and played point guard.
His two major influences were his high school coach Jim Kelly and college coach Jim Berry.
He and his wife, Patricia, have a son, Matthew, 4.