Bryan Duncan, coach of Free State High's sophomore boys basketball team since the school opened in 1997, will be in charge of the Firebirds' varsity girls team next season.
"We're excited," FSHS athletic director Steve Grant said Friday. "We are confident coach Duncan will bring this winning attitude to the girls program."
Duncan replaces Craig Hershiser, who resigned in May after compiling a four-year record of 41-46. The Firebirds were 6-15 last season. During the previous year, they went 16-7 and advanced to the Class 6A state tournament for the only time in school history.
"The thing I want to do," said Duncan, who probably will face a rebuilding year in 2002-2003, "is to continue to grow as a program and take the wins and losses as they come."
Duncan, 29, had many more wins than losses during five seasons with the Free State sophomore boys who were 78-17 during that stretch, including 18-1 last season.
"We'll miss him tremendously," Free State boys coach Jack Schreiner said of Duncan, "but we know he will do a great job with the girls."
A 1995 Kansas University graduate, Duncan spent one season as the boys sophomore coach at Lawrence High, then moved to Free State when the school opened. He also is an English teacher.
"Our philosophy at Free State," Grant said, "is to have whenever possible all of our head coaches on staff in the building."
Duncan, who is single, has no experience coaching girls other than in summer camps.
"The biggest difference, I think, will probably be on offense," Duncan said. "We'll probably have more structure than we did with the boys."
Duncan has known about Xs and Os for a long time. His father, Bob Duncan, was head boys coach at Olathe North for 18 years. Duncan, in fact, played for his father at Olathe North.
Duncan's brother, Matt, also lives in Lawrence where he works at a counselor in Dave Bingham's Baseball Academy.