Keith Ferguson has resigned his position as women’s head basketball coach at Barton Community College.
And, it appears the Cougars have already hired former New Mexico State University head women’s coach Darin Spence to replace him.
Barton athletic director Trevor Rolfs confirmed on Wednesday evening that Ferguson resigned his post on Monday.
“All I can say is that (Ferguson) came in on Monday and submitted his resignation,” Rolfs said by phone. “I really can’t comment on it beyond that.”
Rolfs said that he could not confirm Spence’s appointment although he didn’t deny it, either.
Ferguson returned a phone call to the Tribune on Wednesday night, acknowledging that he had resigned, but added that he was “forced to resign” last Thursday.
“It was for some personal reasons,” Ferguson said. “It was a good two years and I really had a lot of fun here for two years.
“I loved everything about Barton, but it was just time to go. It had to do with some personal reasons.”
Ferguson posted a 35-28 record during his tenure at Barton, including posting a 21-11 mark this past season as the Cougars advanced to the NJCAA Region VI basketball tournament in Wichita in March. They lost to Independence in the first round.
“I’m looking around right now (for another coaching job),” Ferguson said. “I already have a couple irons in the fire, so hopefully I will have another job by next week.”
Barton finished in a tie for second place in the Jayhawk West with a 12-4 record with Cloud County. Hutchinson won the conference crown with a 15-1 mark.
Spence typed on his account on Twitter, hoopcoachspence, that he has been hired to rejoin the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference ranks at Barton.
Early Wednesday morning, Spence tweeted: “My coaching career has been 1 of taking over fixer upper programs & building. A ‘team’ might have won some games, but a ‘program’ had not been built to stand.
“Well, I’m back at it again. Happy, excited to have this opportunity at a once proud tradition rich rival of mine in my old league (Kansas Jayhawk Conf.) where I got my start,have family & friends close by & we will build a strong ‘program’ soon for all the be proud of & help young people along their journey & growth. Barton Comm. Coll. Great Bend,KS will soon be home for us...WOW ...there is a ton of things to do in a short period of time. Direcion,stability,efficiency,positive way of life,taking care of business are a few things we have to get in place. Here we go! Spence family excited to be moving back to family & friends & for the opportunity.”
A tweet to Spence on his account from GreatBendKS Great Bend CVT read: Welcome to Great Bend and good luck at Barton.
Spence served the past eight seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State. According to the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News, Spence resigned under pressure in March after his team was eliminated during the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament and finished 14-18 overall.
Spence compiled a 109-136 mark in eight full seasons. He previously coached for 12 years as a women’s head coach at the junior college and NAIA levels, posting a 317-80 record.
Spence spent six seasons at Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, where he compiled a record of 171-26 and won five Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division titles.
Named the Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year four times in six seasons, the Lady Tigers posted a combined conference mark of 97-11 in his tenure.
Before Cowley, Spence was previously the head coach at Butler in El Dorado, where he posted a record of 117-47, won two Jayhawk Western Division titles and reached the NJCAA Regional Finals twice.
Spence began his coaching career as a head coach at his alma mater, Marymount College of Salina, where he posted a 29-7 record in his only season, 1987-88.
While in Kansas, he coached 10 All-American selections, 25 All-Region performers, five All-District players and 25 NJCAA Academic All-American selections.