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Madras still has coaching spots to fill

For most coaches, just getting a team through its playoff run is tough enough. But for Madras High Athletic Director Rory Oster, that has been just one of his worries.

While he and co-coach Zach Lillebo have been guiding the White Buffalos into the Class 4A state tournament, Oster has also been looking to fill two coaching vacancies on the Madras staff. And now, he has two more positions to fill.

Oster got one job taken care of with the hiring of Charlie Brown as the Buffs interim fastpitch coach but now looks to fill the football position vacated by Rick Wells two weeks ago and a girls soccer job that has been open since November. And with the Buffs basketball season coming to an end Friday night, he will now need to fill the interim position he and Lillebo had held.

Just another day in the life of an AD.

Buff softball

Oster got the most pressing position filled in naming Brown the interim fastpitch coach. Brown, who has coached in the area on a variety of levels, takes over the reins from Shawna McConnell, who stepped down in October of 2013 to concentrate on getting a master’s degree.

Spring practice opened March 3 with Brown as the coach. The Buffs’ first game is Monday.

With two daughters that have gone through or are in the program, Brown has spent the last five years helping out where he can. He knows the system and most of the girls and was an easy, nice fit into a bit of a strange situation.

“I’m just a guy with some experience trying to help out,” Brown said. “What from I had heard, no one had really applied for the job.”

Brown said he is ready to guide the program for a year or two and feels he is just keeping the seat warm until McConnell is ready to return.

“I’m not here looking for a full time job. I just want to be here to help the kids,” Brown Said. “I want to keep things going until (McConnell) comes back.”

Brown said he will keep the traditions put in place by McConnell and the high expectations that were built over the last seven seasons.

Oster said the position will repost in April, and if Brown is up to par, he will encourage him to apply for it.

“I think he will do a good job. He knows all the kids, so there’s nothing for them to get used to; they know who he is,” Oster said. “A lot of them have played for him before at a younger level, so the transition is pretty easy."

Buff football

Wells’ resignation was accepted by the district on Feb. 24

“This was 100 percent my choice,” Wells said. “It was the right time for me to professionally step aside. I have no plans to leave the district, and hope the new coach will use me in some capacity to coach.”

Oster said the resignation was not a complete surprise.

“Coach Wells and I have a great relationship and he has done a lot of wonderful things here,” Oster said.

Oster said Wells’ top priority is teaching in the classroom and that was the reason behind his resignation as head football coach. Wells is looking for a full-time teaching gig in his chosen field and knew he might have to go outside the district to get one.

With that in mind, he did not want to do it at the risk of leaving the football program in limbo heading into the crucial summer months, so thought it best to resign now and get a permanent coach in place.

“For him, it really shows the individual he is,” Oster said. “He knows that he is going to be out searching for other positions and that he may leave at any time. And he knows that is not the best thing for our program. He can’t put everything into it because he’s not sure where he is going to be.”

Wells has been teaching social studies part time in the district and is a Title VII instructor.

“I have a lot of respect for him for doing a good thing,” Oster said.

Oster said the football position has already been posted within the district and will soon be on the state websites. He said he has contacted a few people that he said were on his “A” list and wants to get the position filled as soon as he can.

“That’s one thing I like to do, (recruit) for positions,” Oster said. “I don’t like to sit back and wait to see who applies. I’ve already hit the trail with phones to try to find out who would be a good fit here.”

The district does have a physical education teaching position open at this time, which should draw plenty of quality applicants.

Buff soccer, basketball

As far as the other open positions, Oster said he wants to get both filled by the end of March so coaches can get their summer programs scheduled and underway.

The soccer position has been posted and should fill by spring break, Oster said. The basketball job should post this week.

While Oster, who is a former girls basketball coach, said he has no intention of taking the position, co-coach Lillebo expressed interest in the job after the Buffs’ season ended over the weekend.

“If given the opportunity, I’m there,” Lillebo said. “I’ve gotten to know the girls and I think we can put it all together and have some good years.”

Oster, who will screen applicants and then make a recommendation to the school board, feels Lillebo would be a good fit.

“I think Zach is a very qualified applicant and will probably put his hat in the ring,” Oster said. “It would be a good opportunity for him to be a part of the program.”



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