When Lawrence High girls basketball coach Nick Wood had the chance to be the head coach of another sport, he couldn’t pass it up.
In the LHS cafeteria Tuesday, Wood announced he will be adding softball to his coaching duties.
“For (the administrators) to feel confident enough for me to run two programs, it’s awesome,” he said.
Wood, who graduated from LHS with a sparkling baseball résumé, also had to sell his wife on the new job. He has a 21⁄2-year-old daughter to take care of, and he just added another challenge. But he seems ready to face it.
Wood inherits a team that made it to the state tournament last year, led by Sunflower League Co-Coach of the Year Reenie Stogsdill. The season is a few months away, and, no matter how good the team was last year, Wood doesn’t have a specific goal in mind for the Lions.
“Hopefully at the end of the year, we will have reached our peak for who we are,” he said.
Following the success of Stogsdill, who resigned after last season, Wood said he has to win over his players. And he is well aware that it could take some time. He has been through coaching changes in his baseball-playing career and understands that some people adjust quickly while others take longer.
“At the end of the day,” Wood said, “I just need to get through to them that I care about them.”
He made a point Tuesday to show his new team that he is qualified for the position.
Wood, about to begin his third year as the varsity girls basketball coach, already has head coaching on his résumé.
And as a ballplayer? He’s got that covered, too.
At LHS, Wood’s team won the state tournament in 1996. He also was part of an AAU team that finished second in the nation. And after high school, he signed on to play baseball at Kansas State.
Wood said he is going to try his best to carry the torch for Stogsdill, but he is also not jumping ahead of himself.
He said the changeover process is going to take time, and as the basketball coach, he has seen the challenges of building a winning program.
At the end of his introduction, he gathered the girls around, handed out paperwork and slipped in little words of wisdom between discussing technical matters.
His last one seemed to resonate the loudest.
“Just smile every once in a while, and it’ll be fine,” Wood said.