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Column

Coaches pass on love of sports

The phrase “it takes a village” applies to athletics also.

Teaching in any sport is done in practices. There are adjustments made in practice sessions, timeouts and halftimes and there are in-game adjustments.

Head coaches need assistant coaches to help prepare athletes for the games, matches and races. Following high school sports in Jasper County, I’m confident in saying Newton, Prairie City-Monroe, Colfax-Mingo, Lynnville-Sully and Baxter have dedicated coaching staffs in every sport those schools participate in throughout the year.

Focusing on Newton High’s fall sports, Cardinal teams have solid coaching staffs with mainly veteran coaches. There are a few new, but familiar head coaches and assistants throughout the sports.

Ed Ergenbright is in his 16th season as head coach for the Newton High football program. He has a coaching staff which has been together for quite some time. Andy Cazett, Andy Swedenhjelm, Jeff Richardson, Tom Weeks, Chase Dickinson, Ryan Arguello and Brad Kahler help Ergenbright with the junior varsity and varsity.

Newton added two more assistant coaches this year but both are familiar with the Cardinal program. Darren Hurt was on the NHS coaching staff from 1986 through 2016 and was a former defensive coordinator. Hurt returns to the staff as the linebacker coach for defense. Randy Ervin is a former NHS player and helped coach the freshman team for awhile and he is helping with offensive line coaching.

Trent Powers is at the helm of the Newton freshman football team. His assistants are Brian Springer and Loren Jacobsen.

Ergenbright has said of his coaching staff, “these are men who coach for the right reasons and do things correctly in teaching the skills of the game.”

Sarah Patterson is the longest tenured — continuous — head coach at Newton. Patterson begins her 27th season as NCMP head coach with fourth-year assistant coach Jenny Jensen.

“I get most of my energy from the kids themselves. All of our seniors are team captains and each year it is great to see the leadership blossom among our seniors,” Patterson said. “We’ve created a great tradition and to see our kids excited to be part of the Aquagirl experience each season is rewarding.”

Rachelle Tipton begins her seventh year as head girls’ cross country coach. Steve Weeks is in his fifth season at the helm of the boys’ cross country team. Both are former Newton student athletes.

That brings up to Cardinal volleyball. For 15 years Kim Florke was the head volleyball coach at Newton High before retiring after the 2013 season. Florke, who continued teaching physical education at NHS, is back directing the program in 2019. Also back is Heidi Woollums as the varsity assistant coach.

LaNita Keeton as the junior varsity coach and Michaela Bleeker as the freshman coach. Woollums and Keeton have coached with Florke at Newton before and Bleeker was a standout player on the NHS 2013 team.

These are just a few of the outstanding women and men who have chosen to coach our youth in this area. Never doubt their passion for teaching — because coaching is teaching — and their love for their sports.

Some housekeeping items for Newton Daily News sports are in order:

Space limitations — yes, the newspaper is in a space crunch right now. It has led to shorter competition stories on the sports page in the physical newspaper. The NDN sports staff writes more extensive stories on those competitions which appear on the Newton Daily News website each day. Those stories have more details about the competitions, quotes and statistics.

Football pick’em contests — the Newton Daily News has a local football game pick’em contest sponsored by HyVee. There is no online Pigskin Pick’Em contest as in the past. Also any questions or comments on the local contest need to be directed to the newspaper’s advertising department, which is in charge of that contest. The sports department is not involved with the contest.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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