Swartz on sports: The making of a good hire


Mahmood Khatib

With now former girls varsity basketball head coach Brian Bubalo gone, Athletic Director Kevin Gerke must fill another position this Spring.

Swartz on sports, Gabe Swartz

When former head football coach Mike Zegunis stepped down from his role at Blue Valley Northwest last February, Athletic Director Kevin Gerke was put in an unfamiliar position. Gerke was left with the first varsity head coaching vacancy during his time at BVNW, in a sport accustomed to speculation.

What came of the near two-month coaching search was the job being offered to Clint Rider, an up-and-coming coach at Hesston High School, a Class 3A school. When he was given the job on April 4, Rider said rebuilding the program, which had experienced turmoil in the years prior, was “going to be a process.”

A 2-7 season in 2017 proved that the rebuild won’t happen overnight, but was also a step in the right direction. In Rider, Gerke found an enthusiastic young coach with excitement for the job and passion for the task at hand.

Now, with girls varsity basketball coach Brian Bubalo’s departure, Gerke is back in the familiar position he was in last spring.

With a 49-58 record over the past five years, the girls basketball program has room for growth if it wants to contend for state championships in upcoming years.

TJ Vore
Athletic Director Kevin Gerke should look for an enthusiastic young candidate to fill the girls head basketball coaching position.

A head coaching gig at an Eastern Kansas League school should be a coveted role- as seen by the 44 applicants for the head football position last year- and with the Northwest girls basketball program having the most teams of any Blue Valley school last year, the program remains relatively healthy. Junior guard Haley Shin was straightforward with what she’d like to see in the new head coach.

“We want to see a coach that’s gonna push us and play to win,” Shin said after learning of Bubalo’s departure.

If Gerke is able to find an enthusiastic, young coach capable of garnering the respect and attention of the players, turning BVNW girls hoops into a state contender could happen sooner rather than later.