Coaching carousel begins early for Cassville

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

District steals Purdy softball coach to lead team

In what Cassville Athletic Director Doug Martin hopes will be the bulk of the sports hires this year, the district has made big changes for the 2018-2019 school year.

The biggest comes in a change in the leadership of the Lady Wildcats softball team.

Shawn Johnson resigned to pursue other opportunities, and the district wasted no time in finding a replacement in current Purdy softball coach Lori Videmscheck, who went 65-6 in the last three seasons at Purdy, including three straight district titles and a state runner-up finish in the spring of 2017.

The agreement with Videmscheck is unique to southwest Missouri in the fact that she will coach the varsity Lady Wildcats in the fall and still be allowed to coach the Lady Eagles in the spring.

“We checked with [the Missouri State High School Activities Association] and there is nothing that prohibits that,” Martin said. “In fact, we were told that Kansas City and St. Louis schools often share coaches for fall-spring sports options. It is common in soccer, just not a common occurrence in southwest Missouri.

For Videmscheck, it is the equivalent of getting her cake and eating it too.

“I have always loved coaching softball,” Videmscheck said. “My nieces play in Cassville and the team has talent to work with. I view this as another step in helping kids grow.”

Time management is something that is a main concern for both parties.

“We are going to let Lori’s assistant coach the junior high in the spring,” Martin said. “We have no issue whatsoever with her leading both programs.”

Videmscheck said the summer will be the busiest time.

“Right now, getting a summer workout schedule for both teams is my No. 1 goal,” Videmscheck said. “I don’t work with my Purdy girls in the fall because they have golf and volleyball. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Prior to coming to Purdy, Coach V, as she is often called, coached softball at Crowder College in Neosho.

During her time at Crowder, Videmschek helped build a strong program — first as a player from 1985-1986 — where she helped guide then-coach Annie Westfall’s 1986 team to a national championship. She returned as a coach, when the program was re-implemented in 2004, as an assistant under then-coach Brandi Arthur. In 2008, Videmschek was elevated to head coach, and the program exploded. She amassed more than 200 wins and finished her last season 38-18.

Prior to her stint at Crowder, Videmschek was the skipper at Purdy and led the Lady Eagles softball team to back-to-back final four appearances in 2003 and 2004, finishing second and fourth in each of those seasons, respectively.

“We had a short list of names that we wanted,” Martin said. “Lori was on that list, and when she applied, it gave us a candidate that could give our program instant credibility. We feel like we are getting a stellar coach that can do great things for Cassville softball.”

Videmscheck, who lives in Cassville, will only serve the district in a coaching capacity. She will be paid a stipend of $5,005, 14 percent of the district’s base pay. As part of the agreement between her and the district, she will coach the Lady Eagles for the spring 2018 season before assuming the duties at Cassville.

Another coaching change came to the Cassville football team, with Jay Rogers stepping down from his offensive line coaching duties. Rogers will still coach golf and remain as a teacher in the district.

“It was a difficult decision and I put a lot of thought into it,” Rogers said. “I’ll miss the camaraderie with the coaches and the players, but I feel like this is the right time for me to walk away.”

Jenne Kliene has been hired away from Pierce City and will assist with the volleyball team.

Martin said the district plans to hire one more assistant wrestling coach and they have a candidate identified, but could not release the information until a formal recommendation and hire was made to the school board.

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