Sports in Kansas: Several coaching changes across the state

Inman did not renew Megan Heckel, head volleyball and head girls’ basketball coach. Inman went to the 2A Final Four last fall.


Megan Heckel was let go and not renewed as the Inman volleyball and basketball coach. The choice could really could change the landscape of girls’ volleyball, girls’ basketball, football, boys’ basketball and track for next year. The spring generally has significant coaching moves throughout all classes, though Heckel’s non-renewal could yield the biggest domino effect.

Other key changes included Derby wrestling, Meade boys’ basketball and multiple football coaching moves, especially with Madison and in the Hays area.

Heckel does retain her teaching position. Both volleyball and girls’ head coaching positions are posted on the front page of the Inman web site.

Heckel (Patrick) has long wanted to be a volleyball and basketball coach, just like her father, Erin, currently coaching in Missouri.

“The gym was practically our second home because we were there at every practice,” Megan said.

He had great success, including a 2010 volleyball state title, at Hutchinson Central Christian. Megan is the oldest daughter of the five Patrick children and graduated in ’08 from Central Christian.

Jamie Patrick, her sister, still holds Kansas high school all-time mark for career volleyball kills and was a record holder/standout for basketball programs at Hutchinson Community College and Colorado State. Sister Laura was a key player for Emporia State basketball.

Heckel posted a 90-26 volleyball record in three years at Inman. The Teutons were 19-18 the season before she took over.

Last fall, Inman advanced to the 2A final four, the school’s first state trip since 2010 and best finish in 28 years. Inman lost three times to rival Sedgwick during the year, though beat the undefeated Cardinals in the sub-state title game. Kambrey Woods led Kansas in assists, and standout freshman Suttyn Harris paced the state in kills.

Heckel helmed girls’ basketball to a 16-27 mark, including a four-win improvement this winter for a program that has limited tradition. Harris averaged more than 20 points per game. A key senior suffered injury before the first game and did not play. Heckel had one healthy senior starter.

In basketball, Inman has one state berth in the last 22 years. After a 0-3 start, Heckel eventually led a 10-9 finish.

Heckel and her husband, Brian, have four children, one boy and girls who are seven, four and two. The oldest is Tanner, an Inman junior.

Tanner Heckel is an elite three-sport athlete and one of Kansas’ most recognizable names.

He has helped Inman to back-back 1A state football runner-ups, the best showings in school history. Heckel was a consensus first team all-state 2A basketball this winter. He earned three second place showings at state track last spring. Heckel has a standing 40-inch vertical jump. He has already exceeded 1,000 career points in basketball.

Last fall, Heckel finished third for 1A Offensive Player of the Year in Sports In Kansas statewide media voting behind St. Marys’ quarterback Keller Hurla and Conway Springs’ running back Brayden Kunz. In nine games, Heckel delivered 1,109 passing yards, 882 rushing yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns.

He finished with 47 tackles and two interceptions on defense. As a sophomore, Heckel was used in an all-purpose role with 92 offensive touches for 1,086 yards and five scores. In the ’22 state title, Heckel accounted for 137 rushing and 267 passing yards.


The Heckels live outside of Hutchinson and could go to a couple of schools without moving.

If the Heckels move/switch school districts, that would likely substantially change the pecking order in 1A football and 2A basketball next fall. Schools have reached out to the Heckels to gauge interest. It is open ended.

“My future, I just don’t know what it will hold,” Megan said. “Praying a lot, saying ‘Lord, open up, show me what you want me to do.’ Obviously, I am not going to be coaching at Inman. I am still teaching there, and I really love the teachers that I work around.”

Heckel had high praise for Lance Sawyer, Inman’s head football and track coach, and Brett Froese, Inman head boys’ basketball coach.

“I love both of his coaches,” Heckel said.


The possible movement of Heckel could significantly change the landscape in multiple sports.

Star athlete transfers because of coaching changes have occurred. Most notably, Craig Amrein was let go from his coaching positions at Ellis, including head football coach. Amrein eventually landed at Hill City where he is defensive coordinator.

His son, Aiden, won a state wrestling title in the winter and has broken multiple HC passing records. Aiden Amrein has a strong case for eight-man’s best football player this fall and HC will likely be preseason No. 1 in Eight-Man, Division I.

Kent Teeter elected to go from Goodland to Holcomb football. His son, Trey, started at quarterback for Goodland for two years and Holcomb for two and led the Longhorns to a 2015 state title.

In girls’ sports, Josie McLean led Hutchinson volleyball to the final four this fall, the program’s best showing since 1997. McLean was a standout setter for Nickerson and Hutchinson. She went to Hutchinson after her dad, Jon, took the AD position. Jon had served as Nickerson’s head girls’ basketball coach.


Megan, a 6-foot forward, played at Sterling and taught at Sedgwick for six years before she came to Inman. She coached junior high girls’ basketball at Sedgwick for two years and served as a volleyball high school assistant. Megan went to Inman when Tanner was going into eighth grade. The Heckels live 15 minutes from Inman, and 40 minutes from Sedgwick.

“When I got the volleyball job, it took me out of my comfort zone a little bit, and I am really happy I did it,” Megan said. “Because I loved it. I just loved coaching volleyball, and then the basketball job came open.”

Heckel was at home on maternity leave with her youngest girl, who was around two months old, when she found out the basketball job was open. She applied.

“I prayed about it a lot,” she said. “Because either way I was content, because I just had that peace. But I remember I interviewed for it, a couple interviews, and I do remember being asked: Will you be able to coach both?”

Heckel always had the same answer: “I know I can, because I am confident in my abilities.” She was used to the schedule from her dad.

Several coaches, especially Washburn Rural’s Kevin Bordewick and Smith Center’s Nick Linn, have done volleyball and girls’ basketball for decades. While she doesn’t currently do it, Eureka’s Shelly Hoyt held both head volleyball and head girls’ basketball coaching positions at Hoxie.

Plus, the Heckels were going to be at the games anyways because Tanner was playing.

“My kids loved it,” Megan said. “They loved watching Mommy’s teams, Mommy’s girls. ‘Let’s go watch Mommy’s teams.’ It was just kind of fun, bringing a family, kind of raising them as coaches’ kids is just fun.”

Volleyball-wise, Heckel was most pleased with the sub-state win against Sedgwick. Heckel heard the doubts entering the matchup, though remained confident. Inman had lost six in a row and 20 of 24 to the rival Cardinals. Inman won 23-25, 26-24, 25-19.

“I see them practice everyday and know what they can do,” Heckel said.

Derby headlines key coaching changes; football coaching updates

Derby wrestling coach Bill Ross and Panther head girls’ basketball coach Dan Harrison have announced retirement and resignation, respectively. Ross led the Panthers since 2001 and won two state titles, in 2019 and this winter.

Harrison was previously an assistant and took over as head coach. He has served in the program since 2018. Derby was second in 6A in 2022 and third this season. Derby featured senior Addy Brown, a McDonald’s All-American and Sports In Kansas all-classes player of the year this winter.

Per Derby wrestling, Ross delivered a 300-95-1 career dual record, two state titles, five second places and four third place showings.

Cole Kinnamon, a great player at St. John and son of legendary basketball coach Clint Kinnamon, has announced he will be Meade’s new boys’ basketball and golf coach. Kinnamon played at Division II Rogers State. He has spent the last four years at RSU, a MIAA school, as a player or assistant coach. Clint Kinnamon has won more than 500 games.

A domino effect occurred when Jay Harris resigned as Hays-Thomas More Prep-Marian head football coach.

 Grant Stephenson went from Plainville head football coach to TMP. Stephenson resides in Hays and his family is part of the TMP school system. TMP announced the change Jan. 24. The highly  respected Stephenson spent eight seasons at Plainville and delivered a 57-32 record, including a state runner-up showing in 2016.

Alex McMillian, who achieved great success as a Victoria assistant and most recently as Madison’s head football and track coach, took over Stephenson’s position at Plainville. McMillian spent seven years at Madison and delivered a 56-18 record. This spring, McMillian will lead Madison track and star senior Bryson Turner, a two-time 100-meter state champion.

Nathan Teichgraeber takes over as Madison’s head coach. He was previously a Madison assistant and served as head coach, including Council Grove.

On the collegiate front, Tate Omli, a former multi-sport star at Ell-Saline and college football player at Northern Iowa, is headed back to Eastern Michigan. Omli spent the last three seasons as Hutchinson Community College’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Omli helped HCC win a junior college national title. Omli will coach safeties and serve as the passing game coordinator at EMU.

Key football coaching changes earlier in the winter:

Mike Rogers, a Smith Center great and longtime SC assistant coach, takes over as Redmen head football coach for his alma mater.

Trey Teeter took over as Holcomb head coach for his dad, Kent. Teeter was the 2015 Sports in Kansas 4A-II Player of the Year for Holcomb. He was a four year starting QB in high school at both Goodland and Holcomb.

Justin Burke, who has significant head coaching experience, especially at Dodge City and Chaparral, is the new head coach at Chaparral.

Former NFL player Mark Simoneau takes over for Justin Hoover at Shawnee Mission East. Simoneau is known for his prolific playing career at Smith Center and Kansas State and recent time as a Gardner-Edgerton assistant.

Drew Hudgins is the new Blue Valley North head coach. Hudgins served as Mill Valley’s longtime defensive coordinator. Among many other accolades, Hudgins was SIK’s Large School Assistant Coach of the Year last fall.

John Wiemers, formerly at Arkansas City, is now at Olathe West. Wiemers led Ark City to a state runner-up finish just a few seasons ago. His family has strong coaching ties with his brother, Dave, being the former head coach at Emporia State and was the offensive and defensive coordinator at Pittsburg State just a few seasons ago, while sister, Suzie Fritz, was the head volleyball coach at Kansas State for several seasons, she’s now an assistant at Arkansas.

Tyler O’Connor takes over at Moundridge after a highly successful stint as Canton-Galva’s defensive coordinator. C-G had the No. 1 scoring defense in eight-man football last fall. The Eagles went 13-0 with a state title in 2019.

Colby Hamel, a former Fort Hays lineman and Rock Hills head coach, had spent the last couple of years in Nebraska. He returns to Kansas as Lincoln’s head football coach.

Jacoby Martin replaced longtime coach Beau Sarwinski at Galena. Martin was Sarwinski’s all-state quarterback on their 2009 Galena semifinal team in 3A. Martin, who also was a former head coach in softball, led Galena to a state runer-up finish in that sport just a few seasons ago.

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