The overflow Truman High School student body section had plenty to cheer about Saturday at the I-Town Showdown. But the biggest cheers came at halftime of the boys game, where Gregg Webb was introduced as the Patriots new head football coach.
The overflow Truman High School student body section had plenty to cheer about Saturday at the I-Town Showdown.
The Truman boys and girls ran their I-Town Showdown record to 5-0 against Noland Road rival William Chrisman with two impressive victories.
But the biggest cheers came at halftime of the boys game, where Gregg Webb was introduced as the Patriots new head football coach.
He replaces Jeff Floyd, who turned in his coaching resignation following last year's 1-9 campaign.
Webb made a brief appearance at center court at the Independence Events Center, then sprinted over to the cheering section, as the students stood and cheered the man many believe can turn the Truman football program around.
“We didn't just hit a home run with this hire,” Truman activities director Eric Holm said, “we hit a grand slam. There was a lot of interest in this job and we had some highly qualified candidates. And we got the best.
“He knows he has a challenge at Truman and I think that gets him excited. And we're excited to have him.”
Webb comes to Truman from Eudora (Kan.) High School, where his teams qualified for the state playoffs in 10 of his 11 years, including advancing to the state championship game this past season.
Webb has a career football coaching record of 248-55. As head coach at Claflin (Kan.) High School from 1987-2002, he coached teams to five state championships, and tied the state record for consecutive wins with 51 games.
Webb was chosen as Kansas State Football Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1998.
“We feel very fortunate that Webb has chosen to bring his talents and skills to the Independence School District,” Holm added. “His record speaks for itself, and shows his ability to build a strong and winning football program. We look forward to seeing what he brings to the Patriot sports program this coming school year, and in years to come.”
Webb enjoyed the atmosphere at the Events Center, and after he was introduced he went over to the Truman student cheering section and shook hands and visited with the students.
“Not every high school is part of an event like this,” Webb said, referring to the fifth annual I-Town Showdown. “Now, we want to generate excitement like this for the football program.
“And I know we can do that. I'm extremely excited to be a part of the Truman football family and can't wait to get started in getting this program turned into one of the most respected in the suburban conference. I'm confident we have the kids, staff and support to put an outstanding product on the field every Friday night.”
Webb is honest is in evaluation of the Truman program, which has won just two district titles in the history of the school.
“It's not going to happen overnight, and the administration doesn't believe it has to happen overnight,” Webb said. “In a school with 1,600 students, we should be able to find 150 who want to be a part of the team and 25 or so who can really play. I want players who are dedicated – that's how we won at Claflin and Eudora.
“I don't want the player who says, ‘Coach, I’m going to do everything I can to help us win, but I’ve got this birthday party tomorrow and won't be at practice.’ Huh-uh, that's not going to fly.
“I love the energy I feel here today. I love it! This school is hungry for a winner and we're going to do everything possible to give them a winner.”
Webb and wife Kelli have four children, Brynnen, 22, Mariah, 21, Derek, 18, and Allison, 17.