Joe Cain has a new coach for his Blue Springs Little All-Stars basketball team.
That’s because his father, Jimmy Cain, who has been the head boys basketball coach at Blue Springs South High School the past 15 years, announced his resignation Friday afternoon.
Cain said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Josh Smith, an assistant coach who has been by Cain’s side on the bench the past 13 years with the Jaguars, was named the new head coach.
“Yeah, I think I’ll coach Joe’s team,” Cain said, chuckling, “but I’m probably going to need some help. I haven’t coached 4-year-olds, so we’ll see what happens.”
He might not have worked with 4-year-olds, but he has enjoyed great success at the prep level.
Over the past 15 years, has a 246-163 overall record, five 20-win seasons, five district titles, three state quarterfinal appearances and the lone state basketball championship in school history in 2015.
That season he won the Eddie Ryan Award for Metro Coach of the Year, Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Coach of Year and the USA Today State Coach of Year award.
“Obviously, I have some big shoes to fill, on and off the court, because everyone respects Coach Cain so much,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and appreciate the opportunity to coach this team.”
Cain said Smith was the only option to coach a team that has a great deal of talent coming back, including the highly recruited 6-foot-6 Jaylon McDaniel, who will be a sophomore next season.
“With Josh, it’s going to be business as usual,” said Cain, who was The Examiner’s 1992 Player of the Year when he was a senior at Blue Springs High School, playing for Gil Hanlin – who went on to become the first-ever coach at South.
“I talked with the kids today, and it was tough. But it made it easier announcing that Josh would be our new coach. He is a man of great character and we have a team of great character – seniors like D.J. Hyde, D.J. Frost, Ethan Swanegan, Jack Gillig – such great kids, players you really respect for playing the game the way it should be played.
“And we have some great character kids coming back. I might not be coaching, but I’ll still be at South as a teacher and I’ll be the Jaguars’ No. 1 fan.”
Cain said there was no one reason for his resignation.
“No one thing led to the decision,” Cain said. “I talked with (my wife) Amy, and some other people. You know you just feel the timing is right to make a move like this? Well, that’s how I felt.
“And this will give me some time to get away on weekends and see some of kids who have played for South play at the next level, and that’s something I never really got to do being the head coach.”
As Smith and Cain talked about the memories of 13 years on the same bench, the new head coach told Cain a story about the team’s recent basketball banquet.
“I haven’t even told Coach Cain about this,” Smith said. “I have two young boys, Lincoln is 9 and Everett is 6. I brought them to the basketball banquet this year because they love to be around the players.
“When we were driving home, I noticed that Lincoln was in the back seat sobbing. I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘I’m going to miss our seniors.’ That’s the type of impact our players have on their fans and that’s the type of impact I am hoping they make when I am the head coach.”