Scorpio Horn feels like he's back home, and the former William Chrisman High School assistant coach can't wait to take over the reins of the struggling Independence football program.
Horn, who played football at Blue Springs High School and Missouri Western State College, was named the Bears’ new head coach on Friday.
“I'm so excited about this opportunity,” said Horn, an Independence school district at-risk specialist who was a Bears assistant under former head coaches Mike Spotts and Mark Simcox.
“I feel my biggest challenge is getting the kids geared up to believe they can do something. My job every day is to talk to kids to let them know there is something greater than failure. I want these kids to know they can compete – on the football field and in life.
“Through football and through discipline you can graduate and go on and have a successful life. There is another level – you might not play in the NFL or on Saturdays, but you can be successful.”
Horn replaces John Crutcher, who resigned following a 1-9 season in 2013, in which the lone win came in the Wagon Wheel game against Noland Road rival Truman.
“John did a great job because the kids did respect and like him,” said Horn, who spent two years as an assistant with Simcox at Park Hill South High School before returning to the Independence School District. “But you have to understand how these kids wake up, go to bed and how they live. I've lived like that.
“I understand these kids. I won't say I understand them more than any other coach, but I want them to know that my coaches and I will run through the wall for them. When they learn that we're here for them, and we're here for the long run, they're going to be wanting to run through walls for us.
“I'm here to change lives, to motivate them. Once they trust you they will do anything for you.”
William Chrisman activities director Dan Ogle believes the Bears have the right man for the job and says the enthusiasm Horn shares on a daily basis is infectious.
“Scorpio is excited to lead these athletes and be part of the Chrisman community,” Ogle said. “I believe his passion will energize those he's leading and the community. I can visualize an excitement around the program in the future that will make Friday night a very big party.”
Horn believes it will soon be a victory party.
“I want to take these players to the next level,” Horn said. “There is so much potential in this school. I believe in these students. I feel my enthusiasm and the athletes' attitudes will make a great combination.”
Horn, who is about to get his master's degree, wears many hats for the school district. Along with being the at-risk specialist, he is serving this year as the girls basketball coach at Van Horn.
“I want to bring the same enthusiasm and love of the game to Chrisman that we have at Van Horn,” Horn said. “That was a program that hadn't enjoyed much success, but my girls are working hard and they would do anything to become a better team. They work hard, they pay attention and they do the little things to be successful.”
Horn, with a enthusiastic personality, wants to be a role model, and Chrisman principal Mike Becker believes that will happen.
“Our students need role models that will invest in them personally and will not settle for mediocrity and anything less than their very best,” Becker said. “Scorpio is someone who sees what kids can do first instead of what they can't. That resonates with kids, parents and communities and enables a person like Coach Horn to build a successful and long-lasting program.”
Football is much more than strategy for Horn, who wants to make an impact in his players' lives.
“These kids are great,” Horn said. “Push them in the right direction and they will respond and have success. The entire district and this school's program can change, and I think I'm the right guy to take them there.”