Archive for Wednesday, April 3, 2002

New EHS football coach eager for change

After building Claflin into perennial power, ‘it was time to move on’

April 3, 2002


Gregg Webb will pack an impressive resume when he arrives in Eudora to coach football.

The 39-year-old Webb compiled a 150-24 record in 15 years at Claflin, where his Wildcats captured five state titles, reached the state final nine times and won 51 consecutive games in one stretch. He also coached prep legend Jackie Stiles in girls basketball and track.

"You get in a situation where you get a little complacent," Webb who was named Monday as Eudora High's next head football coach said of Claflin, his lone coaching stop after graduating from Kansas State. "This last year I felt like maybe it was time to move on to see something else."

Claflin was the Class 2-1A state runner-up the past two years after winning three consecutive state titles.

"It was almost to the point they expected to win it and I did, too," Webb said. "The last couple of years there was little fanfare. It was almost cheating the kids because it had come so commonplace and people weren't really appreciating what we were doing."

Webb inherits a Cardinal program that has produced four consecutive winning seasons and advanced to the Class 4A state quarterfinals in each of the past two years.

"Eudora gets so excited about winning their district and getting to the playoffs," Webb said. "Here, that wasn't enough. That's not a bad thing. The tradition we built here was monstrous. There were more than a few games that we won and we shouldn't have won."

Another reason Webb was eager for a chance was for family reasons. Claflin, located in central Kansas near Great Bend, has an enrollment of 170 students for grades seven through 12. His wife, Kelli, teaches fifth grade and her job next year was in jeopardy.

"We have shrinking enrollment and serious budget crunches," said Webb, who has four children ages 6 through 12. "She wasn't guaranteed a job. Dale Sample, the principal at Eudora, said there would be a good opportunity for her to have a job there because the district's growing."

Webb will teach weight training and social studies at EHS.

"I'm more interested right now in putting my family in a community and a position of opportunity, more so than about my own career," Webb said. "I'm a pretty confident person in coaching kids and trying to get the best out of them. I feel like where I go we can win."

Webb coached a winner in Stiles. He coached her all four years in track and her senior in basketball. Stiles finished with 14 gold medals in track and finished her basketball career as the state's all-time leading scorer before moving on to Southwest Missouri State and the WNBA. She became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer in women's basketball.

"Those kids are once in a lifetime," Webb said. "It was just an incredible situation to see a kid like that come through this area. She was so driven."

Webb will replace Aaron Barnett, who has been named head football coach at Topeka Washburn Rural. Ironically, Webb was a finalist for the Washburn Rural job a couple of months ago.

"I was really interested in that job," Webb said.

With second-team all-state running back Andrew Pyle returning, Eudora has high hopes this fall.

"What people are telling me is that this senior class is a really talented bunch and they think they can get to the state championship and that excites me," said Webb, who plans to visit with EHS players on April 15.

His hiring still must be approved formally by the school board, which will consider the matter on April 11.

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