ESSEX - Former New Madrid County Central assistant coach Casey Knight has been named the new boys basketball head coach at Richland High School.
Knight replaces Jeff Jennewein, who after one season, took a position as head coach at Vienna, Mo. With the hire of Knight, Richland has hired nine different coaches since 1995.
"The decision was made last Thursday to hire Casey Knight as our new coach," said Richland superintendent Ken Latham. "Casey is young and energetic and will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the position next year. Casey also had some excellent references from Lennies McFerren and Scott Kruse."
Besides his coaching duties, Knight will teach health and physical education next school year. According to Latham, Knight was chosen out of list of candidates between 15 and 20.
"I am excited about the possibilities, real excited," said Knight. "I understand that the team will be real young coming back and I expect great success. They have some talent, loaded with a lot of good sophomores and their junior high program is up and coming as well. I am looking forward to meeting the returning players and to get started."
Knight, age 25, graduated from Risco in 1999 and played basketball under coach Scotty Blackburn. Knight attended SEMO and while still in college, got his first experience as head coach of Cape Central's freshman team in 2003.
Since Knight has graduated from SEMO, he has been the assistant coach at NMCC the last two years. Knight coached under Kruse his first year and under McFerren this season.
"Casey is an up and coming young coach," said McFerren. "He has a knack for the game and energy needed for coaching. Casey has done everything I have ever asked of him and he has stuck by me this last year. I really believe Casey is going to do well and one day will be a very good coach."
While McFerren will obviously be an influence on Knight's coaching, Knight will incorporate a little from each coach he has been under and some from his own coaching book.
"I think my coaching style will be a little bit from McFerren, Kruse and myself," said Knight. "My defensive style will come from McFerren with pressure and intensity. On offense, I expect to run a lot of set plays. I will emphasize team ball and being patient while on the offensive end. But our defense will get our offense going."
Even though Richland hasn't had a winning season since 2001, Knight envisions future potential.
"This is going to be a great experience for me," said Knight. "I feel I have learned a great deal from three experienced head coaches and I am ready to get going. Back when I played for Risco, Richland was a great team in the area and I think we can be again. Richland has great history and with the kids we have coming back, I really believe that together we can do some great things."