LIBERTY — For Liberty North High School’s first nine years of existence, all three winter sports programs’ head coaches stayed put. They established new programs with fresh identities that lasted nearly a decade.
But in one offseason, Eagles Athletic Director Bob Kernell was forced to replace all three while adding another head coach due to the creation of a new position for girls wrestling.
“There’s a lot of excitement. There’s a lot of newness and we’ve changed over some other sports in the past,” he said. “Those winter hires all are replacing original coaches. We’ve been very stable in the winter sports for the past nine years. It’s kind of crazy, but it also brings us back to a fresh start.”
Liberty North will welcome to its sidelines two new basketball coaches, boys wrestling coach and the first girls head wrestling coach.
On the basketball front, former St. Joseph Central coach Cy Musser was hired to guide the Eagles’ boys program, replacing now-William Jewell College men’s coach Chris McCabe. Brian Rockers will take over the girls program after Saree Morley resigned her position.
“I feel great,” Kernell said of the basketball hires. “I think they both had a great summer with the kids and there’s a lot of positive momentum with these guys this summer. We have some great staffs coming together.”
Musser, a St. Joseph Benton graduate and former Missouri Western player, comes to Liberty North after spending the past seven seasons in charge of St. Joseph Central. Kernell said he’s seen a lot of Musser over the years.
“He’s just a great fit for the program and what it needs to move forward,” Kernell said. “He came out of the interview process with exactly what we were looking for. The skill set he brings is just awesome.”
Rockers brings 17 years of head coaching experience, with stops at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas, and most recently Park Hill, where he was the head coach from 2000 to 2010. He has spent the past four seasons as a Liberty North football coach and he’ll continue to serve as a freshman coach on the gridiron.
“He’s got a lot of experience,” Kernell said. “He’s a great personality match when he came in to take the program on. I’ve known him awhile and his style. Again, we were lucky to get him as we had some great candidates.”
On the mat, Kernell elevated two assistants to head positions. Lance Moore will be the boys wrestling head coach and Laurel Concepcion-Shoger will be girls head coach. Kernell said adding a girls wrestling head coaching position was a no-brainer, especially with Concepcion-Shoger in the mix.
“After evaluating the need to have a girls wrestling head coach, Laurel was a natural fit,” Kernell said. “She’s perfect to grow this program. The numbers last season came through the roof and part of that was her coming out as an assistant and recruiting. But the kids came out and stayed interested.”
TJ Goeglein, who brought Concepcion-Shoger on last year, is the other Liberty North winter coach that is moving on. He accepted an administrative position in St. Joseph.
Moore, a former Kearney High School assistant, spent three years in an assistant role after coming over from Kearney with Eagles football head coach Greg Jones.
“TJ put the program in a good place to take it to the next step and to advance more athletes to state so it’s real exciting,” Kernell said. “Lance is a go-getter and is very organized and he’s looking to build that program even further.”
With his new winter coaches now in place, Kernell said he’s relieved and excited.
“It’s a whole new feel,” he said. “It’s kind of odd, but it’s great because it makes me step up my game and I need to make sure I’m providing my kids and coaches what they need and want. I reevaluate all that stuff, so it’s been exciting.
“Some people dread the hiring process but I thought it went great. It is work, but it’s what we get paid for and I love going through it.”