For the second time in just more than a year, Leavenworth High School has hired a new boys’ basketball coach.
Activities director Mike Koontz said the school hired Dru Linebach as the team’s new head coach last week. The new hire comes 14 months after former head coach Prentes Potts took over for former longtime head coach Larry Hogan, who served 35 years with the program.
“I wasn’t very involved in (Linebach’s) interview because I was not in town,” Koontz said. “Our former AD (James Vanek) led the charge and is very confident that we are moving in the right direction with this hire.”
The Pioneers went 10-13 overall and 6-4 in the United Kansas Conference last season under Potts, who resigned from the head coaching position due to personal matters. Koontz said the team is aiming to continue moving in the same direction with Linebach calling the shots.
The sudden resignation of Potts put the Pioneers in a tough situation without a coach for most of the summer. Koontz said the process of finding a new coach has taken most of the break.
“It kind of put us in a bind going into the summer,” he said. “We were searching for a coach all summer and doing interviews until we felt like we got the right fit and Dru feels like the right fit.”
Koontz coached the Pleasant Ridge girls’ basketball team prior to taking over as activities director at Leavenworth. He said Linebach possesses many qualities he finds valuable in a head coach.
“For me, the biggest thing is energy,” he said. “I’m also looking at what you want to do with the program. Are you just using this as a stepping stone? Or do you want to be here to work with the younger kids and build the program up as you go?”
Linebach previously worked at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, as an assistant coach where he won a state championship. He served as the activities director at DeKalb High School and was most recently the head coach for Smithville High School’s boys’ basketball team.
Koontz said Linebach puts a heavy emphasis on defense while coaching.
“He’s a big defensive guy,” he said. “He likes to hit on defense quite a bit.”
Despite the late start, Linebach has already hit the ground running and met with the team earlier this week.
“He’s stepped in, met the kids, gotten some workouts in and really has stepped into the role,” Koontz said. “I talked to the girls’ basketball coach the other day and he had nothing but positive things to say about Dru. Some of the kids have really gelled with him and we are confident about the program.”
Even though he missed most of the summer, Linebach will still have a good amount of time to get settled with basketball season still a few months away.
“With it being a late hire, he didn’t have a lot of time to jump in and get things done, but I know Dru is ready to get things done here,” Koontz said.