Southwest hires coach to relaunch program

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: June 12, 2011 - 2:03 PM

The Kansas City Missouri School District will have a new football team for 2011. Southwest will field a team and compete in the Interscholastic League as its fifth member.

Leading the Indians this fall is Tim Johnson. Johnson has been a head football coach in high school and college most recently at Avila University where he started the Eagles program in 1999.

Johnson grew up in the area around Southwest high school and attended Rockhurst where he played football. For Johnson the opportunity to resurrect the Indians football program was something that hit close to home.

“I grew up across the street from Southwest in high school and college,” Johnson said. “I have a great affinity for that place. Southwest has been in my family for a long time. It’s just always been there. When I got word from a friend that the job was open I was excited.”

The Southwest program is one that has been around before as a member of the KC school district and as a charter school. The school was reopened under district control this past school year but did not field a football program.

In fact the school did not field any fall sports last year. With the school consolidation the district moved children from Westport high school (which was closing) to Southwest. With the move the district did not have the proper paperwork filed with the Missouri State High School Activities Association and the school was not able to field teams.

This year Johnson will try to restart the program with players from Westport that had success in 2009 when they were last on the field. The Westport program was successful in 2009 under veteran coach Dan Stanley. The Tigers qualified for the playoffs beating Class 4 power Platte County to advance to the postseason.

Johnson has a high amount of respect for the job Stanley did at Westport and Stanley will join Johnson as a member of the Indians staff.

“Coach Stanley is my right hand man,” Johnson said. “He is a wealth of knowledge. His first coaching job was at (Kansas City) Central High School in 1959 and then his first head coaching job was at Westport in 1964 and was back there in 2008 so do the math.

“I’ve coached against him and he’s been around for a long time. After I got the job I knew he was one of the candidates and felt that his long career needs to end on the sidelines somewhere. I called him up and asked if he wanted to come help me because he has great information and because he was at Westport and has great knowledge of the IL and the Kansas City School District.”

Right now Johnson and his staff are just trying to get the basics before starting a minicamp June 20. Johnson is hoping to build strong community support for the program that will help build interest and commitment from his players.

“We’ve got a big meeting on Monday to try to get the last people out that we can,” Johnson said. “We are putting our summer schedule together for our lifting days and when our minicamps are going to be. We are just trying to get this program off of the ground.”