Scott Schaefer is not a nomadic coach, one who is always on the prowl for a new challenge.
Over the past 25 years, he has had two coaching jobs – 16 years at McPherson (Kan.) High School and the past nine at Gardner Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas.
But when he heard about the opening at William Chrisman High School, the man who owns four state titles and 11 state final four appearances was intrigued.
“Our boys coach looked into the Chrisman (boys) job last year (following John Vickers' resignation),” said Schaefer, who will replace Lindsay Thompson as the girls basketball coach, “and he liked a lot of things about William Chrisman High School.
“I kept my eye on the school and became intrigued when the job opening was announced.”
When Schaefer turned in his résumé, Chrisman's new activities director Shawn Terry said it immediately found its way to the top of the list.
“Coach Schaefer is my first hire as the new AD and it might be one of the best – no matter how long I'm at William Chrisman,” Terry said Wednesday afternoon. “When I talked with him, he reminded me of me. My expectations are high, very high, and so are his. He's going to be a great fit at William Chrisman.”
It's been well documented that many of Thompson's former players were unhappy with her ouster. They printed T-shirts in support of Thompson and voiced their disproval of the way she was relieved of her coaching duties.
“Let's address the elephant in the room,” Schaefer said, referring to Thompson's termination and the player backlash. “I just came from William Chrisman where I met with the players.
“I have nothing to do with the past. My focus and all my attention is on the future. All I asked was for them to give me a chance and I believe they will. From their reaction to our meeting and reading their body language, I came away from the meeting feeling good.”
So did Terry.
“If we'd have told them practice started today,” Terry said, “they would have all been in the gym. I think after meeting Coach Schaefer, they're as excited as I am.”
Schaefer brings a 476-176 career record and 15 Kansas state tournament appearances with him. He will join the Independence School District July 1, but he is already planning his summer camps and assignments.
“I want to be around the team as much as possible. We'll get an apartment, or I might just put a cot in the AD's office,” joked Schaefer, who will continue living in Gardner, Kansas, where his wife Brenda is a computer science and digital photography teacher at the high school. “I plan on being in Independence for a lot of the summer.”
He says he can't wait to experience all aspects of his new coaching adventure in Independence.
“I have a diversity of experience, including small to large schools and everything in between,” Schaefer said, “and I have been successful in every setting. I am proud that all talent levels of players have found a place or a role in our programs. I believe I have made a contribution to the school, and community in every position, in athletics and beyond.”
He said he is especially excited about the school's Bears Tomorrow program, which introduces basketball to young girls who will attend Chrisman.
“I started programs like that before, so going to a school where it is already in place is very exciting,” he said. “I want to bring dedication and pride to this program. It's exciting to be coming to William Chrisman.”
Terry believes the best is yet to come for the Bears.
“Scott Schaefer brings great experience and success as a coach,” Terry said. “He has proven success as a head coach and I look forward to Scott leading William Chrisman to that next level.
“He requires girls basketball players to be tremendous student-athletes, model students in the classroom, competitive in the weight room and on the playing court and recognized in the community and school as outstanding citizens.”