Randy Draper, who is still the girls basketball coach at Grain Valley High School, and Brad Oyler, who retired last season as the girls coach at Blue Springs South High School, recently received the highest recognition from the Missouri State Basketball Coaches Association.
The two were inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame April 13 in Springfield.
In his 27 years as a head basketball coach, Draper spent the first 19 years coaching boys and the last eight years coaching girls. Draper’s teams have built an overall record of 434-268, winning five district and eight conference championships and advancing to one state quarterfinal.
“What is so special is that our teams made basketball special at Grain Valley High School – an event the students wanted to be a part of, first with the boys and then with the girls,” Draper said.
“Over the years, I cared so much for the players on my teams, and that weekend in Springfield, I found out it was a two-way street. So many of them were there to help me celebrate and that made it even more special.”
Oyler served for 33 years as a teacher and girls basketball coach at Polo, Savannah, Liberty and Blue Springs South. He amassed a career record of 474-222 before retiring as a coach from South in April 2017.
“People have asked me about retiring when I’m so close to 500 wins,” he said with a chuckle. “My little grandson Ari is much more important than 500 wins. And 500 wins – they’re just wins. When I look back on my career, I really don’t think about the wins.”
He has the most wins in Liberty’s girls basketball program history with 213. He was also the first coach to take both Savannah and Liberty to the state final four. His Savannah team placed second in 1998 and his Liberty team captured the title in 2007. He has coached teams to three conference championships (two undefeated) and seven district championships.
“The state championship was special,” Oyler said, “and so was taking that Savannah team all the way to the championship game. But you know what makes the past 33 years special for me?
“Getting invited to a former player’s wedding, or having a former player come back to say hello. Or, simply finding out that one of your former players have grown up to become a productive member of her community. That’s what makes it special for me.”
Draper developed a love of basketball working as a student assistant with the men’s basketball program under coach Norm Stewart at the University of Missouri.
Draper began his head coaching career in Madison, Mo. He coached the girls and boys junior high and the boys varsity basketball teams. Draper also coached baseball in the fall and spring.
After one year at Madison, he returned to the University of Missouri, serving as a graduate assistant for two years under Stewart.
Draper then spent seven years in Camdenton before continuing his career in Grain Valley, where he has coached the boys or girls the past 19 years.
Draper has received 10 area and regional Coach of the Year awards, including, KMZU Coach of the Year for boys and girls basketball; Independence Examiner Coach of the Year for boys and girls basketball; and District Coach of the Year for boys and girls basketball.
Oyler was named the winner of the Richard Fairchild Missouri Basketball Coach of the Year in both 1998 and 2007.
He was also named the Coach of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association in 2007.
Oyler is also part of the 2019 Class of the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
“That happened the Thursday night before the Hall of Fame induction in Springfield on Saturday,” Oyler said, “so I had to worry about making two speeches. That was a little stressful but so special to be recognized by your peers in the metro area and on a state-wide basis.”