BY JIM MISUNAS
TOPEKA — Hoisington High football coach Zach Baird has been selected as an assistant coach for the 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl. The 48th Kansas Shrine Bowl is scheduled Saturday, June 26 at Hutchinson.
Baird has compiled a 71-13 record at Hoisington with a 2A runner-up finish 27-20 to Rossville in the Cardinals' first trip to the championship game this past season.
"It's something I've always wanted to do as a coach. This is my first chance to be part of the Shrine Bowl experience," Baird said. "I love everything the Shrine Bowl stands for. You get an opportunity to meet different players and make an impact on a young person's life."
The head coaches are East coach Brian King of DeSoto and West coach Lucas Melvin of Norton.
Other West assistant coaches are Junction City’s Randall Zimmerman, 6A; Hutchinson High’s Mike Vernon, 5A; Arkansas City’s Jon Wiemers, 4A; Wichita Collegiate’s Troy Black, 3A; and Oakley’s Jeff Hennick, 1A.
Baird is particularly interested in seeing Vernon, who ran a similar Flexbone offense at Nickerson High School.
"I have the utmost respect for coach Vernon," he said. "Working with quality coaches makes you a better coach. Coach Vernon and I find a way of getting together. When you run a Flexbone offense, you're always tweaking what your team is doing."
The West coaching staff posted a 59-20 record in 2020, with three state runner-up finishes by Hoisington, Oakley and Arkansas City.
Junction City’s Randall Zimmerman will return for his eighth Kansas Shrine Bowl. Zimmerman led the West as head coach in 1996, 2010 and 2016. Arkansas City’s Jon Wiemers returns to the Kansas Shrine Bowl after representing Clay Center on the 1994 West squad. Wiemers joins his father, Larry, who coached in 1984 and 1985. Jon’s brother, Dave Weimers, played for the West in 1986.
“I’m excited about the coaches I get the opportunity to work with,” Melvin said. “These are terrific coaches that I look up to, some I’ve coached against and coaches who had fantastic seasons. I feel blessed to be with these coaches and players to represent a wonderful organization.”
East assistant coaches are Lawrence’s Steve Rampy, 6A; Blue Valley Southwest’s Anthony Orrick, 5A; Basehor-Linwood’s Rod Stallbaumer, 4A; Holton’s Brooks Barta, 3A; Osage City’s Andrew Gantenbein, 2A; and Olpe’s Chris Schmidt, 1A.
The East coaching staff posted a record of 57-16 in 2020, including Olpe’s state champion. The East staff owns nine Kansas Shrine Bowl coaching appearances, including two head coaches. Brooks Barta led the East in 2000 and Rod Stallbaumer led the East in 2009. Brooks Barta played for Smith Center (1988), Anthony Orrick competed for Blue Valley (1996) and Brian King played for Onaga (2000). Barta coached King in the 2000 Kansas Shrine Bowl.
“We have a great combination of youth and experience,” said Brian King. “I have a great deal of respect for all of these coaches and what they have done for their programs. It‘s a privilege to coach alongside coach Barta, who I had the honor of playing for in 2000.”
The assistant coaches are chosen based on the success of their season, as well as eligibility limitations and coaching availability.
“We’re excited about the great coaching staffs,” said B.J. Harris, Kansas Shrine Bowl director. “These coaches have 1,300 wins. I’m confident these coaches understand the challenge they have before them. Each coach understands our purpose and that’s why they’ve committed themselves to this game.”
The Kansas Shrine Bowl Player Selection Show will air Saturday, Jan. 2 at www.KansasShrineBowl.com.
For information, contact B.J. Harris at email@example.com or (913) 602-4359.
All Shrine Bowl events are produced and presented to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. SHC is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals.
Children up to the age of 18 are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.
Information is available at www.kansasshrinebowl.com; or by calling 913-602-8656.
HHS COACH ZACH BAIRD (71-13)
2020—12-1—Championship—Rossville 27, Hoisington 20
2019—11-1—Semifinal—Norton 10, Hoisington 8
2018—9-3—Semifinal—Phillipsburg 31, Hoisington 14
2017—7-4—Second round—Phillipsburg 35, Hoisington 6
2016—12-1—Semifinal—Hesston 35, Hoisington 19
2015—11-1—Quarterfinal—Halstead 44, Hoisington 8
2014—9-2—Second round—Minneapolis 17, Hoisington 14