By FRED KRONER
Mahomet-Seymour’s three recent varsity-sport coaching hires all share two common traits.
Each has previously been a head coach in the sport they will work with next year, and each is familiar with the returning M-S athletes in their sport.
M-S graduate Ryan Bosch will take over the boys’ basketball program, filling a vacancy that was created when previous coach Chad Benedict accepted a position as assistant principal.
Decatur native Kristin Allen will be in charge of the girls’ cross-country program. Biggsville native Darren Tee — who coached the M-S girls’ track and field team this spring — will have the interim tag removed for 2019.
Of the three hires, only Allen will have a teaching position within the M-S district next year.
A 2001 graduate, Bosch lettered in basketball as a junior and senior, and in track as a junior high jumper.
Part of his career path was established while he was a student at M-S.
“I always knew I was going to teach,” Bosch said. “I had a lot of passion for that.”
Being an athlete in programs where veteran coaches such as Randy Sallade, John King and Keith Pogue were involved, helped dictate the extra-curricular part of Bosch’s journey.
“I had great role models and influences,” Bosch said. “Coaching was a natural fit.”
From the time he did his student teaching — at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley — Bosch was adding coaching duties. He worked with the track and field program while at GCMS.
His first full-time job was at Flanagan, where he taught high school social studies and assisted in basketball and track.
After two years there, he joined the St. Thomas More staff for three years, remaining in the high school social studies department and handling the junior varsity basketball team.
Following that three-year stint, he earned his first varsity head coaching job, at Argenta-Oreana in basketball. Bosch taught eighth-grade social studies for three years before he was a reduction-in-force victim (RIF) due to budget cuts.
For the past four years, he has taught eighth-grade social studies at Champaign’s Franklin Middle School and volunteered with Benedict’s M-S basketball program.
It was an easy decision not to seek another head coaching position during the past few years.
“At that point, our son was just born and I’m not sure a head coaching thing would have been great timing,” Bosch said.
“The volunteer aspect allowed me more flexibility and to roll back my responsibilities.”
He used the time to soak up knowledge.
“I tried to ‘steal’ as much as I could from Chad,” Bosch said. “We have good things going here and I will try to apply the lessons I’ve learned.”
Bosch will be part of a significant change within the M-S boys’ basketball program. Veteran assistant Ryan Martin resigned, to accept an administrative position, and another long-time aide, Steve Kreps, retired.
Bosch is hopeful that Eric Andracke, who has headed up the freshmen program for more than a decade, will remain on staff.
A Benedict disciple, Bosch won’t try to retool the program.
“I love the way Chad challenged his kids to be mentally prepared,” Bosch said. “The amount our kids learn from freshman to senior year, and their level of basketball IQ is something we want to keep going.”
Though his teams at Argenta-Oreana ended with a sub-.500 record, Bosch doesn’t regret that part of his journey.
“The (head coaching) experience was huge,” he said. “I don’t end up where I am now without that experience at Argenta-Oreana.
“The path it set me on led me here.”
As for goals as he starts his Bulldog tenure, Bosch said it won’t be about a won-loss record.
“We want to have a program that, regardless of offensive or defensive philosophy, we’re hard to play against and we’ll make it a grind,” he said. “The pride of the program Chad built was grit and a blue-collar attitude.
“We want to be hard to defend, hard to scout and be able to impose our will on the (opposing) defense.”
Many of this year’s top scorers are seniors who will graduate this week, but 6-foot-6 Grant Coleman is a rising junior who started, and upcoming senior Jordan Veldman was also a part-time regular. Another senior-to-be, Dawson Finch, was a significant contributor this past year on M-S’ fourth consecutive 20-win team.
“We want to have a defensive identity to make it hard to run your stuff and to take away your options,” Bosch said.
The departure of Cory Noe — who has been selected to play in next month’s state all-star game at Pontiac (which Benedict will coach) — creates opportunities for the 2018-19 team.
“This class will have to write its own story,” Bosch said.
That will start with the upcoming offseason.
“As much as anything, summer is about creating our identity,” Bosch said.
The new coach will also work with a new opening to the season. M-S will no longer compete in the Lincoln Tournament the week of Thanksgiving, but will participate in one held at various Champaign County sites.
Besides succeeding Benedict as the M-S coach, Bosch is following him in another respect.
When Benedict was hired for the Bulldogs position, his son, Noah, was entering kindergarten.
Next fall, Bosch’s son, Jackson, will be starting kindergarten.
“That’s a crazy parallel, he said.
Bosch’s coaching home-opener will take place on Nov. 21, the night before Thanksgiving.
A third-year physical education instructor at M-S High School, Allen was a volunteer assistant coach in cross-country the past two years.
She had a two-year stint as girls’ cross-country coach at St. Joseph-Ogden and in 2013 was chosen as The News-Gazette Area Coach of the Year.
When she agreed to serve as a volunteer coach with the Bulldogs in 2016, Allen said it was with the hope that she would be considered for the head coaching position after Bonnie Moxley retired following the 2017 season.
“My last two years, I’ve observed those who have done it for a long time,” Allen said. “You can learn a lot by watching. You can see what works and what doesn’t.”
One point is one which she already new: Coaches have to be flexible.
“Every kid is different,” Allen said. “One big thing is to build a relationship with each athlete because each one is different.”
Her mantra is one which she hopes will serve her well.
“Be quick to listen and slow to speak,” Allen said.
Not only was Allen associated with Moxley at M-S, but she also had a strong mentor at SJ-O in Jim Acklin.
From him, she learned that, just like in families, not everyone will be pleased at all times.
“Acklin used to say, ‘It’s OK to disagree. Controversy doesn’t have to be negative,’ “ Allen related.
She plans to emphasize a family environment within the Bulldog cross-country program.
That means she expects to be involved with the workouts.
“I will do most of the interval (training),” she said. “I can’t preach family if I’m not there.
“I can’t compete with Brisa (McGrath, upcoming senior), but I will be out there everyday. If I need to get on the bike, I will.”
Allen didn’t immediately enter the teaching and coaching profession after college.
She was a certified athletic trainer and then served time as a Champaign County deputy.
Though the jobs don’t appear similar, Allen said they were instrumental in her personal growth.
“All of that helped me be the teacher I am today,” she said.
There is a direct relationship to her police work and coaching.
“Good policing is good peopling,” Allen said. “You have to communicate.”
A strength and conditioning coach at M-S, Allen’s first quest will be conditioning.
“You have to get them in shape,” she said, “and there are multiple ways to train.
“Once they are in shape, I am there to motivate and push them to times they didn’t think they could get to.”
Allen will be on the lookout for a volunteer assistant. She may have a candidate closer than she imagined.
Her 5-year-old daughter, Harper, who will be entering kindergarten, isn’t afraid to supply some input.
“She may or may not be bossy,” Mom said, remembering a line she has heard Harper repeat.
“She’ll say, ‘Pump your arms,’ but she doesn’t know what it means.”
Though Moxley had served in a dual capacity as cross-country and track head coach for years, Allen wasn’t interested in that workload.
“I’m a Mom and a wife first, she said. “That’s a huge time commitment and that’s not in the cards right now.”
This spring served ass an audition of sorts for Tee, who took over the M-S varsity program just prior to the start of the outdoor season.
He wasn’t in unfamiliar territory. He coached girls’ track and field for 15 years at Centennial High School, including four years as the head coach.
Tee was in his fourth year on the M-S staff as an assistant and knew that the head coaching position would be open soon. Moxley had announced she would retire as a teacher and coach at the end of this school year.
“I had planned on applying for the head job,” said Tee, who is in his 29th year as a physical education teacher. He works at Champaign’s Kenwood School.
The position became vacant sooner than expected when the M-S School Board relieved Moxley of coaching duties in February. Tee was given the job on a temporary basis.
“I figured if I screwed up, it would make sense that I don’t get a shot (as the head coach),” he said.
His 19-member team went on to win the Apollo Conference championship and qualify for state in five events. Senior Jessica Franklin has broken three individual school records this spring.
“I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better,” Tee said. “I was learning on the job.
“It has been like a fairy tale. I never thought we would have the success we’ve had.”
Franklin — who along with sisters Amanda and Alexa — had been home-schooled until this year, had never participated in an official track program, although she has an extensive background in running.
Her M-S school records are in the 200 meters, 300 hurdles and the 800 meters.
“I knew Jessica was an athlete, but I didn’t know she would do the things she is doing,” Tee said. “I’d look at the stopwatch indoors, and my jaw would drop, but it has gotten to the point nothing she does surprises me.”
With track and field, Tee is in his element.
“I’ve been a track junkie,” he said. “If it was a meet for 5-year-olds, I’d be content.”
He believes there is a spot for virtually anyone who wants to be involved with the sport.
“You won’t be good at everything, but with 18 different events (including four relays), you can find something to be successful with,” Tee said.
A four-year letter winner in track at Biggsville Union High School, Tee’s focus then was on the sprints, hurdles and pole vault.
With the Bulldogs, his particular area of emphasis is to work with the throwers.
In high school, he also played football and was on the 1981 Biggsville team which lost in the Class 2A state championship game.
Tee knows that long-term success in girls’ track at M-S is not a given if the roster size he has this year doesn’t increase.
“One of the goals is to get our numbers up,” he said. “We’re recruiting. We’ll bring the eighth-graders over and attempt to sell the program.”
Of the 19 athletes involved in the program this year, 18 participated in at least one event at the sectional. The lone exception was a person who was travelling to a cheer competition.
Other coaches working with Tee this spring are Kyle O’Daniel, with the distance runners, and Carroll Whitehouse, with the sprinters.
Taking over near the end of the indoor season, Tee hasn’t had the opportunity to establish all of his objectives for the future.
“This has been a whirlwind season,” he said. “My goal is to keep the program where it should be.”