'Amazing first impression': New coach Alan Wilmes gets Blue Springs South players excited for future

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
New Blue Springs South football head coach Alan Wilmes, center, fist bumps Jaguar players while meeting with the team for the first time Friday morning. Wilmes, who led Park Hill South to an 11-1 record last season, will try to turn around a program that hasn't had a winning season since its last state championship in 2015 and went winless last season.

Alan Wilmes knows you have only one opportunity to make a first impression. 

And the new head football coach at Blue Springs South met his Jaguar players Friday morning and hit it out of the park. 

"I'm so excited I wish we could go out and practice right now," said junior lineman Hayden Meyer. "I'm really at a loss for words because I never expected a presentation or first meeting like this. I can see Coach Wilmes is excited and that makes me excited." 

Fellow junior Luke Lamb, who plays tight and linebacker, agreed, "You can tell from meeting Coach Wilmes today that we are going to be a better program. He made an amazing first impression on all of us. He's already created a buzz around our football team, and that hasn't happened in a long time.”

New Blue Springs South football head coach Alan Wilmes addresses his players Friday morning. Wilmes, who was 23-10 in three seasons at Park Hill South, was named the new head coach to replace Matt Klein earlier in the week.

Wilmes, who led Park Hill South to an 11-1 record last season, replaces Matt Klein, who resigned at the end of last season. Klein's teams were 4-27 the past three years, including an 0-10 mark last year. 

Wilmes' Panthers defeated South 28-6 last season, giving Jaguars activities director Jon Grice and others the chance to see his team's success and his coaching style in person. 

"We feel like we won the lottery in getting Coach Wilmes," Grice said. "We had 45-plus applicants, and from that list, we narrowed it down to 10. We then narrowed the candidates to four, and Coach Wilmes rose above the rest. While we have struggled recently, I think the number of high-quality applicants we had from across the country, not just Missouri, but from many other states, shows the respect our program has achieved." 

Wilmes had a video presentation for the team that included his football foundation: DEAL – Discipline, Edge, Accountability, Love. 

"We're going to build a house," Wilmes said as members of the South coaching staff, Grice, assistant activities director Jimmy Cain and principal Ryan Gettings, listened, along with members of the 2022 football team. 

"And to build a house, you need to build a foundation. And how do you do that?"

Blue Springs South football players meet new head coach Alan Wilmes at the high school Friday morning.

He then listed the steps to success: 

1. Be a good person. 2. Grades. 3. Hit the weight room at least three times a week (in the offseason). 4. Compete in other sports. 5. Attend open gym in the spring. 6. Get ready to roll and have fun. 

"I know the last six years have not been what you wanted," Wilmes said, "and we're going to change that. It's in your blood to be a champion and we are going to return to championship form." 

Wilmes, who will teach social studies or physical education at South, then showed a highlight reel from the Jaguars' 37-28 state championship win over CBC in 2015. 

That was the last year South had a winning record. 

"Look, we built something pretty special at Park Hill South," said Wilmes, who was 4-6 his first year with the Panthers, 8-3 the next season and 11-1 last year. "But when I heard about this opening at Blue Springs South I had to apply. I was born in St. Louis and went to Francis Howell, and was a defensive coordinator before I came down here to Kansas City. 

"All I ever heard about were the 'Big Three' – Blue Springs South, Blue Springs and Rockhurst. And right now, they're all a little down. But they aren't going to stay down for long, and I feel like it's Christmas Day getting to meet all our players, and letting them know how special they are to me and how I hope I can earn their trust and respect and have some fun the next several years. Fun and success!" 

And when asked why he would leave a successful program like Park Hill South, the coach had a ready answer. 

"School leadership, amazing student-athletes, this community – which I will soon be a part of with my wife Cassidy and our three children. I know we can win big here – on the field and in life – and we're going to dig that new foundation and start something that is so exciting. I can't wait."