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Irish can shoot -3/26/2015, 10:15 AM

Brannen Greene not looking to transfer from KU, father says -3/26/2015, 10:15 AM

Tiger baseball continues struggle in loss -3/26/2015, 10:15 AM

ESU run comes to an end in Final Four -3/26/2015, 10:15 AM

Shox, Kentucky one win away -3/26/2015, 10:14 AM

Familiar foe for WSU coach -3/25/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP's recent success started with girls' soccer -3/25/2015, 10:36 AM

Thomas, Harris leaving KSU -3/25/2015, 10:35 AM

HHS softball falls in doubleheader -3/25/2015, 10:35 AM

Hays High soccer has big shoes to fill -3/25/2015, 10:35 AM

ESU women move on to Final Four -3/25/2015, 10:35 AM

Hoxie named top girls' program -3/24/2015, 10:37 AM

Baker's parents there to see bounceback -3/24/2015, 10:18 AM

Report: Alabama will make run at Gregg Marshall -3/24/2015, 10:18 AM

More honors for Lehman, Hobson -3/24/2015, 10:18 AM

FHSU women 13th in St. Joseph tourney -3/24/2015, 10:18 AM

Learning to share is big part of UCLA's run to Sweet 16 -3/24/2015, 10:16 AM

Omar Infante doesn't get chance to test arm -3/24/2015, 10:16 AM

FHSU baseball falls Sunday in series finale -3/23/2015, 10:27 AM

Brad Keselowski wins Auto Club 400 on final lap -3/23/2015, 10:27 AM

Perry Ellis' big day not enough for Kansas -3/23/2015, 8:04 PM

HCC, No. 1 and undefeated, falls in national title game -3/23/2015, 10:27 AM

Wessel's career day leads WSU -3/23/2015, 10:18 AM

Lutz: Experience wins out for Wichita State -- and big -3/23/2015, 8:03 PM

Wichita State beats Jayhawks, moves on to Sweet 16 -3/23/2015, 8:01 PM

Wichita State shocks Kansas, advances to Sweet 16 -3/22/2015, 8:05 PM

FHSU women's tennis falls twice over weekend -3/22/2015, 9:01 PM

FHSU softball earns pair of sweeps; baseball splits -3/22/2015, 9:01 PM

Cold-shooting can't stop Kentucky in win -3/22/2015, 9:00 PM

Sam Mellinger: One phrase sums up Kansas' plan to beat Wichita State -3/22/2015, 3:54 AM

KC's Gordon feels good -3/22/2015, 9:00 PM

Nash officially retires -3/22/2015, 9:00 PM

Three-point shots key for KU in beating NMSU -3/22/2015, 9:00 PM

Lutz: Fred VanVleet puts Shockers on his shoulders -3/22/2015, 3:49 AM

Mellinger: Think KU and WSU see this as a rivalry? Think again. -3/22/2015, 3:53 AM

Zach Brown has best game at right time for Wichita State -3/22/2015, 8:59 PM

Wins by Jayhawks, Shockers raise the stakes for NCAA tourney game -3/22/2015, 3:51 AM

Wichita State beats Indiana to set up showdown with Kansas -3/20/2015, 6:20 PM

Kansas advances with 75-56 win over New Mexico State -3/20/2015, 6:18 PM

Despite injury, Benoit's story not over -3/20/2015, 10:13 AM

Wichita State's experience, toughness concerns Indiana -3/20/2015, 10:12 AM

Can the Royals' Hosmer turn 2015 into an October encore? -3/20/2015, 10:12 AM

Kansas hoping to benefit from past NCAA Tournament experiences -3/20/2015, 10:12 AM

Browns agree to terms with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe -3/20/2015, 10:12 AM

WSU shows its experience late in close games -3/19/2015, 10:53 AM

Trenkles can offer up a treasure trove of basketball knowledge -3/19/2015, 10:23 AM

Hays Optimists, Hays Rec host basketball competition -3/19/2015, 10:23 AM

KU hopes for a healthy Ellis -3/19/2015, 10:23 AM

Tiger softball splits with Mines -3/19/2015, 10:54 AM

Tiger baseball drops 10th straight -3/19/2015, 10:54 AM

Dorsey happy with moves -3/19/2015, 10:23 AM

FHSU softball splits on Tuesday -3/18/2015, 2:20 PM

Tigers' historic run comes to an end -3/17/2015, 10:30 AM

KU prepares to play without Cliff Alexander -3/17/2015, 10:28 AM

KU, WSU the rivalry that isn't -3/17/2015, 10:29 AM

FHSU vs. ESU -- Round 4 -3/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Tigers wrap up indoor track season -3/16/2015, 10:30 AM

FHSU baseball loses series finale on Sunday -3/16/2015, 10:31 AM

Shockers draw No. 7, play in Omaha -3/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Kevin Harvick wins again, dominates Phoenix Sprint Cup race -3/16/2015, 10:16 AM

KU a No. 2 seed -3/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Iowa State rallies past KU in title game -3/15/2015, 6:57 AM

Tigers win again -3/15/2015, 9:12 AM

Wallace County boys take 1A Division II title -3/15/2015, 4:21 PM

Stockton cruises to third place in 1A Division I -3/15/2015, 6:54 AM

Fantastic four -- Hoxie wins it again -3/15/2015, 8:48 PM

FHSU softball swept by Pitt State -3/15/2015, 8:48 PM

Tigers' Page third at nationals -3/15/2015, 8:48 PM

FHSU's Miller destined to coach -3/15/2015, 8:48 PM

Tiger baseball 0-3 against Mo. Southern in MIAA series -3/15/2015, 8:48 PM

KU beats Baylor, will play Iowa State for Big 12 title -3/14/2015, 12:45 PM

Central region — MIAA 3-0 in first round -3/14/2015, 1:06 PM

Hoxie to play for title; Stockton for third -3/14/2015, 7:41 AM

Tiger women win in first round -3/13/2015, 1:05 PM

Hill City stays close, falls in state tourney -3/13/2015, 10:21 AM

Big 12 ready to approve football tiebreakers -3/13/2015, 10:21 AM

Kelly Oubre lifts scuffling Jayhawks past TCU -3/13/2015, 10:20 AM

Wallace county moves on -3/13/2015, 10:19 AM

Williams, Stockton roll in first round -3/13/2015, 10:19 AM

MIAA tourney champ Hornets hope for region success -3/12/2015, 10:40 AM

Top-ranked St. John handles Ellis -3/12/2015, 10:40 AM

Monarchs drop physical contest in 4A II quarterfinals -3/12/2015, 10:39 AM

Hometown product Lunsford makes good for FHSU -3/12/2015, 12:10 PM

Faxon fuel to Tigers' fire -3/12/2015, 10:39 AM

Wildcats drop Big 12 tourney game to TCU -3/12/2015, 10:39 AM

Hoxie upends La Crosse -- Thunder Ridge falls in opener -3/12/2015, 10:39 AM

Tourney time at FHSU -3/12/2015, 10:39 AM

Tiger tennis rolls to victory at McPherson -3/12/2015, 11:59 AM

Tiger baseball drops game at Newman -3/12/2015, 12:00 PM

Marcus Foster regains confidence in time to help KSU -3/11/2015, 10:12 AM

Stockton, Wallace County back to state -3/11/2015, 10:12 AM

Traylor ready -3/11/2015, 10:11 AM

Baker, VanVleet national finalists -3/10/2015, 10:31 AM

State starts Wednesday for some area teams -3/10/2015, 10:31 AM

Self earns Big 12 honor -3/10/2015, 10:31 AM

Tiger women will host regional -3/8/2015, 9:34 AM

Hornets top Tigers in MIAA final -3/8/2015, 8:20 PM

TMP boys headed to state -3/8/2015, 5:09 PM

K-State falls short at Texas -3/8/2015, 8:17 AM

Late bucket helps OU sink Kansas -3/8/2015, 8:18 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
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HDN All-Area 2013 - Webster named top coach

Published on -12/15/2013, 8:24 PM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

La CROSSE -- Jon Webster admitted he was a "mess" and a "nervous wreck" in his first season as La Crosse High School's head football coach in 2009. Webster, a Leopard alumnus, was in his first head coaching job and just fourth year as a football coach at any level. La Crosse was expected to have a down year and went 7-3.

At the end of the season, La Crosse lost to Meade, 46-12, in Week 9 and Elkhart, 60-26, in the first round of the playoffs. It still remains the last regular season and first round playoff loss of Webster's tenure.

"There were a couple of games that we were just outmatched," Webster said. "I felt a lot of it with me being outmatched as a coach, and the last two games we played that year really pushed me to get better as a coach."

Before and after the first year, Webster received plenty of support from a community that loves football, former coach Ryan Cornelsen and current La Crosse superintendent Bill Keeley, a former Leopard head football coach.

"I had several dads and moms come up to me and say, 'You are the guy that we wanted, so that made that transition real smooth,' " Webster said.

After '08, he went to clinics and read books, especially Lou Holtz's book "Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success." Webster has read the book multiple times and calls it his "football Bible." Since then, Webster is 10-1, 12-1, 11-1 and 12-1 with the Leopard football program.

This season, despite three freshmen starting, the loss of star defensive end Sheldon Schmidt to a Week 4 season-ending knee injury, and multiple personnel changes, La Crosse finished as Class 2-1A state runner-up to Centralia. For his efforts, Webster earned Coach of the Year honors on the 30th annual HDN All-Area Super 11.

"He is a players' coach," junior quarterback Jack Garcia said. " We love to play for him, and he knows what it takes to win."

Webster, who is also a boys' basketball assistant coach and won back-to-back 1A boys' track titles, has won 36 straight regular season games, the longest current run in Kansas. La Crosse has won 10-plus contests in seven of the last eight years. The last three falls is the greatest three-year span in school annals.

"I moved here in third grade, and I noticed the football atmosphere was so much different," Garcia said.

"It's so awesome playing in this town, because we have a community that is behind us no matter what every football season. It's so special for me to play for La Crosse and this community."

Webster was a freshman when Keeley, formerly at Dodge City, came to La Crosse as the head coach and started to change the culture. Webster believes that if Keeley hadn't come to La Crosse, he wouldn't have gone on to play college football and probably wouldn't have become a social studies teacher.

At Bethany, Webster learned from longtime Swede coach Ted Kessinger, another major influence. After college, Webster coached girls' basketball and junior varsity baseball for one season at Gypsum-Southeast of Saline.

The first game he coached was a girls' basketball C team contest that ended in a 54-4 loss to legendary Claflin coach Pat Stiles in a score that could have been much worse. The JV baseball team had a near-perfect record.

Then, Webster coached for two years at Conway Springs and assisted with the junior high and varsity before the Keeley family asked him to come back to La Crosse.

In 2008, Webster was the Leopard defensive coordinator for an 11-1 team. When Cornelsen left for his position at Hays High School, the Leopards offered the job to Webster first. Webster turned down the job, saying he wasn't ready.

La Crosse had some high quality applicants and interviews. Webster was excited to stay on staff and learn from another head coach, but three coaches turned down the position. Webster saw the remaining candidates and wanted the job.

"Not quite possibly ready to do it, but if somebody was not going to be ready, I wanted that somebody to be me," he said.

Backed by the strong support system, Webster has continually improved. After the first year, Webster realized he needed to build more relationships with his players.

"It helped me grow up as a coach, those last two games just getting our tails kicked," he said. "I think that has helped me prepare the last four years for the big games."

Webster wanted to have the same affect Keeley and Kessinger had with him.

"The first group, I didn't do a good job of building relationships within the team, and that's something that I wanted to instill upon the kids that go through this program," he said.

Holtz's book provided the pathway on how to make a difference in players' lives.

Webster still reads parts of the book every spring to refresh his memory. A couple of years ago, a friend gave him an autographed copy.

The book details how coaching is much more than just Xs and Os and having the strongest weight room kids. Success comes when the kids know the coaches care. Players often stay at practice past 7 p.m. simply to hang out and will sometimes text Webster at night asking about class assignments or other things in life.

"It's making sure that the kids know that they are important," Webster said.

This season, La Crosse had big improvements across the board, but especially from senior lineman Cody Lee (team-best 23 tackles for loss, one in his first three years) and junior Andrew Jay (1,986 all-purpose yards, 130 in 2012).

"I think that's how we are able to overachieve," Webster said. "I heard a lot of coaches tell me, 'You guys really overachieved this year, and I think it is we really care so much about each other that we weren't willing to break when things got tough."

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