After 13 years as the head girls basketball coach at Raytown High School, Jan Handley is about to embark on a new venture.
On Monday, the Kansas City Soul introduced Handley as its new head coach for the American Basketball Association franchise’s second season.
Soul owner Bryant Tucker said that the contract of former head coach Timothy Simpson was not renewed.
“I enjoyed my years at Raytown. There were some great people there,” Handley said. “But my heart has always been with coaching the boys and the men. When the Soul job came up, I knew what it was all about.
“Bryant Tucker is a really great guy and has a passion for the game.”
Handley, who has coached basketball for more than 30 years, has had several stops including as boys basketball coach for Fort Osage High School in the 1990s and early 2000s and as an assistant coach for the William Jewell College men’s basketball program.
He is no stranger to the ABA either. He coached two years with the now defunct Kansas City Knights in the 2000s.
He’s also familiar with the ABA exclusive rule called – the 3D – which allows a team that steals the ball in the opponent's backcourt to score an extra point on a shot (meaning a 2-pointer is worth 3 and a 3-pointer is worth 4).
“It makes playing great defense a premium,” Handley said of the rule. “We’ll probably use the full-court press a lot to create pressure. We want to make the games exciting for the fans.”
He also likes the way his salary will be structured with the Soul as it depends a lot on the team’s fundraising efforts and ticket sales.
“We have to work for all of the money that we can create,” Handley said. “I like that idea because I am not dependent on a salary necessarily. I can earn whatever it is that I can work for whether it be sponsorships or advertising or fundraising. There’s not that pressure of someone holding a check over your head.”
And it will also help his cause that he will coach the team’s second season at the Truman Memorial Building in Independence, a place he’s familiar with.
“I’ve been in the Kansas City area since 1988,” Handley said. “I was in the Suburban Conference, too, so I know a lot of people in this area. I am hopeful that will generate a lot of interest with our team.”
For Tucker, it was a no-brainer to hire Handley.
“With the experience Coach Handley had with the Knights, this was really a great fit,” Tucker said. “”He can help our team get to the next level. He’s the veteran and student of the game. I actually officiated some of his games and he has a great temperament. He’s going to work to bring a championship to Kansas City.”
The Soul will hold an open tryout July 29 at the KICK Facility in Kansas City, Kansas. Registration is $125 in advance and $175 at the door. For more information, call Tucker at 816-872-6622.
The Soul will also hold a fundraiser from 4-8 p.m. July 12 at the Chipotle restaurant on Sterling Avenue in Independence. Fans can meet Handley and the team at the event.