Tigers sport team with no seniors on squad

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2005

For the past few years the front door to McKenzie Schools athletic offices has been more like a revolving door with the high turnover of coaches, especially football coaches.

But not this year.

In fact David Kirkland, who enters his second season as the Tigers head coach, is now the dean of football coaches among the Butler County public schools.

"I went to the Kiwanis Club meeting last year and I remember the guy saying, 'I know I keep saying this every year, but McKenzie has a new coach,'" Kirkland said. "He won't have the chance to say that this year."

Kirkland returns even after having been offered jobs at other schools. He was just recently offered a defensive coordinator's position, but he turned the school down.

"There were other opportunities elsewhere, but I chose to stay where I am," he said. "I feel like these kids can do what I desire, and that's win a state championship."

Kirkland returns to coach another young Tiger team that as of Thursday, does not have a single senior on the 18-man squad. The bulk of the Tiger team is made up of sophomores and juniors.

"We're still young, but we'll be bigger, faster and stronger," Kirkland said. "I wish more would come out of the halls. That would make the difference in stepping up from one level to the next."

Kirkland said that he expects a couple more to join the team when school starts on Monday, but it won't be just that easy.

"They will have to come out there and prove themselves not just to me, but to their teammates," he said. "I wish we had about a half dozen more join the team. All would be welcome, but they would have to prove themselves on the field."

The numbers are down, but that may have to do with the lack of wins that McKenzie has had on the field of play over the last few years. The lack of numbers on the practice field even frustrates, Kirkland.

"Kids today have so many other things that they see in importance in life, and some work for a living and I can't fault them for that," he said.

So the small Class 1A school will have to make due.

But that doesn't mean the Tigers are giving up the season before it starts either.

"The future looks real bright at McKenzie. We'll win this year," Kirkland said. "I feel like we have a good chance of making the playoffs. The focus needs to be on winning that first (game), but at same time the season really beings in the region. That will determine if we accomplish our goals and how far we go."