The Barton Community College Board of Trustees is gathering this afternoon for their monthly business meeting.
Included on the board’s agenda is approving the hiring of former New Mexico State University women’s head basketball coach Darin Spence as the new women’s head basketball coach at Barton.
The approval for the hiring of the 49-year-old Spence is a foregone conclusion, especially since he typed on his twitter account — HoopCoachSpence on Aug. 3 — that he had been hired by Barton.
First-year BCC athletic director Trevor Rolfs acknowledged Spence’s appointment on Aug. 5, saying, “Pending board approval on Aug. 18, Darin Spence will be the new women’s basketball coach at Barton.”
Furthermore, Spence has been on the Barton campus off-and-on since his infamous tweet just 15 days ago. He and his wife, Andre’ and two of their four kids, have already moved to Great Bend. Moreover, Spence and new assistant coach Carter Kruger have already staged drills consisting of weight training and conditioning for the 2011-12 edition of the Barton women’s basketball team.
“It’s just been crazy,” Spence said Wednesday. “We’ve had to find a place to rent in town and we’re trying to sell a house down south (in Las Cruces, N.M.) and I have my two older daughters (Sierra and Madison) living there .
“My son, Drake, started his first day in school (at Great Bend Middle School on Wednesday) and I was able to go out and watch him at the end of his first football practice. My daughter (Sacia) starts high school (today in Great Bend).”
As for opening workouts at Kirkman Activity Center, Spence said, “We’ve already had one day of conditioning and weights, so we’ve put them to the test already.
“We’re working out 16 bodies right now — some returners and some new ones. We’ve got three local girls from Great Bend High School in (sophomore) Devan Boeger, Jennifer Allende (two-sport athlete in hoops and soccer as a freshman) and Cassidy Tutak (also a freshman).
“Cassidy has already been with us a couple days.”
Tutak, a 5-foot-9 forward at Great Bend, along with graduated GBHS guard Kalie LeShore and Lexie Brack, were first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selections this past season for the Lady Panthers, who finished 9-12 overall.
Tutak averaged 8.8 points and shot 37.1 percent from the floor, hitting a team-high 65 of 175 attempts.
“My first priority is just to get everybody to be good people, good students and good players … in that order,” Spence said. “I’ve been at this a long time and had a lot of success. I know I’m one of the winningest coaches in the Jayhawk Conference, so that doesn’t mean as much to me anymore.
“It’s developing good people, people that I want to be around, and developing relationships. Winning, that’s a given. I want to win, but it’s how I want to do it and how I want to be represented. They’ve had winning success here, but I want to go past that. I want kids that really want to set goals for themselves and become respectful people. I really believe that when you do that, it will equal into wins and you’ll fight for championships.”
Spence spent the previous eight seasons at New Mexico State, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, where he compiled a 109-136 record — the second-best winning percentage in school history. He resigned in March after his team, which included his daughter Madison, posted a 14-18 record in 2010-11.
Spence’s tenure in Las Cruces pales in comparison to his enormous success in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, where he won eight conference championships in 11 years at two schools — Cowley and Butler.
“Because of my experience, I’m not just all about getting a win,” Spence said. “Building relationships and doing things the right way, I think that’s the big thing that has been lacking here.
“Not just the last year or two years, but the last so many years, with such a coaching turnover, just having some stability.”
Spence came to NMSU after posting a 317-80 record in 12 years as a women’s head coach at the junior college and NAIA levels.
He spent six seasons at Cowley in Arkansas City, compiling a record of 171-26 and winning five Jayhawk 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 during his tenure.
After that, Spence was the head coach at Butler in El Dorado, posting a 117-47 record, winning two Jayhawk Western Division titles and reaching the NJCAA regional finals twice.
Spence began his coaching career as a head coach at his alma mater, Marymount College in Salina, where he posted a 29-7 record in his only season, 1987-88, before Marymount shut its doors.
Spence is a native of Escondido, Calif., where he graduated from San Pasqual High School in 1980. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Marymount College in 1985 and his master’s degree in sports administration/health and recreation from Emporia State in 1993.
Spence was born on March 12, 1962 in Palo Alto, Calif. His father, Dan, played football at Stanford as a wide receiver. His oldest daughter, Sierra, was team manager for four seasons while Madison was a starting guard for the Aggies.
Spence replaces Keith Ferguson, who resigned on Aug. 1 after guiding the Cougars to a 21-11 record last season. Ferguson’s two-year record at BCC was 35-28.