Matt Klein was the Blue Springs South High School football team’s most enthusiastic cheerleader on the sidelines at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium Friday afternoon as the Jaguars were scrimmaging Fort Osage and Eureka under cloudy skies and cooler than expected temperatures.
He’s also the Jaguars new head coach.
He replaces former South all-state linebacker and defensive coordinator Jon Oyler, whose Jaguars finished with a 3-8 record last season and a 12-21 mark during his three-year tenure.
Klein comes to South from Marquette High School in suburban St. Louis, where he was the head football coach from 2014 to 2018.
Marquette won conference championships in 2016 and 2018 and Klein was named conference coach of the year both seasons. He compiled a 30-23 record in his five seasons leading the Mustangs, including a 6-4 mark in 2018.
The 30 wins were the school record for the most wins in a five-year period and his teams broke 18 school records. Program numbers also increased by 35 percent under Klein’s leadership.
Klein served as the head coach at Knob Noster High School in 2013 and 2014 before moving to Marquette. He also was an assistant coach at Pleasant Hill from 2008 to 2013 and started his coaching career as an assistant at Morgan County in 2007-08.
He is getting to know his new team as it prepares for the 2019 season.
“We had camp last week and Friday will be our second day of scrimmaging,” Klein said. “You can see the kids really are enjoying the scrimmages. This is kind of a feeling out period for them – and for me – and at times practice with a new coach can get a little mundane.
“But this is a school with a great tradition and we’re going to work hard to rekindle that tradition this year. I like it that the kids are paying attention to detail and are working hard.”
Klein has been pleasantly surprised with their work ethic so far.
“They’ve really been getting after it in practice and we’ve seen some good things during our scrimmages,” Klein said. “We’re going to do everything we can to build this program back to where it was then it was enjoying such success.”
Because of his time at Pleasant Hill, Klein is familiar with the task that lies ahead as he tries to lead the Jaguars to success in 2019.
“Being at Pleasant Hill, with my good friend (and head coach) Kyle Roach, I am very familiar with the area and I know what a great program Blue Springs South has,” Klein said. “And I know it has not had the success the past few years that everyone had hoped for. That is our goal – to be a successful team, on the field and in the classroom.
“We’re going to need kids who work hard and parents who support our program. I like what I’ve seen so far and I think if everyone keeps working, and stays disciplined, we will be in for an exciting season.”