By Dennis Minich
A new head football coach greeted the Harrisonville Wildcats when they held their first regular practice Monday afternoon, but the new mentor is a very familiar face to the HHS program.
Last Thursday afternoon, Aug. 8, Coach Brent Maxwell announced he was resigning as head coach immediately. Replacing him is Kyle Schenker, who already has the distinction of being the longest tenured football coach in school history. His 19th year at HHS will be his first, and maybe only, year at the helm.
“My title is interim head coach for this year,” Schenker said. “Beyond that, I don’t know.”
Maxwell’s resignation was announced in press release from the school district. It stated in part, “Maxwell will continue as the district activities director. Maxwell is making this move due to a personal decision that is in the best interest of his family and we would request respect for privacy for Mr. Maxwell and his family.”
Contacted Friday afternoon, Schenker said his acceptance of the position only had one condition.
“When I talked to the kids, the first thing I told them was I wouldn’t do this unless I had 100 percent support from my wife. Once I got my head around this, I knew we could be facing a real challenge, but this could also be a great opportunity. While we are concerned for Brent, I think this can be a great situation. I am in a position where I can help out.
“I can help Brent and I can be there for the kids,” Schenker said.
He joined the HHS staff for the last season with Tim Dade as coach. He has 18 years as an assistant, including 15 as defensive coordinator. He said he expects to run things very much as they have been run.
“If things aren’t broke, don’t try to fix them. I’ve always had a lot of input with Brent, we always bounce ideas off each other. Tom Meeks will remain the offensive coordinator and I will stay as defensive coordinator so we are trying to change as few things as possible,” he said.
Schenker said he hopes the team can adapt and get down to business.
“We need to give them some help processing everything. We need to deal with it and then get moving,” he said.
Schenker added he thinks his team has the mentality to step up to the challenge.
“We have an amazing group of kids and great leadership, maybe better than I’ve ever seen before and that includes all four state championship teams,” Schenker said.
The Wildcats will have to be getting busy as they compete in a jamboree Aug. 23 against Liberty North, Ray-Pec and Lee’s Summit at Liberty North. The Wildcats open the regular season a week later at Kearney.
Maxwell has spent 13 years at HHS and was head coach from 2014 to 2018. He compiled a 48-17 record and led the team to the 4A state championship in 2014.