After several coaches retired, including head coach Chuck Sulzen, following the 2013 track and field season, openings were filled by four new coaches from Shawnee Mission schools and from outside the district. Emily Nackley, Ronald Stallard, Heidi Delaney and Andrew Gagnon will coach East track and field for the first time in their careers this year.
Coach Nackley will become East’s head track and field coach while helping to coach the throwers. She participated in track and field during high school and competed at the collegiate level for Baker University.
After college, Nackley became an assistant coach for Baker University before moving on to teaching and coaching high school. She spent one year with Blue Valley North and then five years coaching JV sprints and relays at SM South. Nackley is currently a social studies teacher at South.
East Social Studies teacher Ronald Stallard, has been teaching at East for seven years but only recently got the opportunity to help with track and field. He will be coaching the team’s jumps.
In high school, Stallard played football, basketball, track and baseball, which was a summer season sport at the time.
Although he has not coached for East before this season, Stallard has experience coaching track and field for close 20 years. He began at a 1A school then coached in Beeler, Kansas, a small town in the western part of the state. The team won two state championships during his time in Beeler before he came to the Shawnee Mission District.
Stallard’s coaching places little emphasis on where an athlete places in competition.
“I don’t usually worry about championships or gold medals,” he said. “I think if you get the kid to do the best that they can, that stuff takes care of itself.”
Gagnon has already coached football and basketball for four years at East. He will spend his first year with track as the JV sprints coach.
Gagnon is an East alumni from the class of 2000. In high school, he earned four varsity letters in football, three in basketball, and went to state for track twice. He is an experienced football and basketball coach at East but has never coached track before this season.
As a JV coach, many athletes he assists are focused more on moving to the varsity level than placing in JV events.
“I’m not too concerned with how we place or anything,” Gagnon said. “When they want to run varsity, they’re going to have to be better.”
The new javelin coach, Heidi Delaney, moved to the Shawnee Mission district when her husband, Dustin Delaney, became the Lancers’ head football coach.
Heidi Delaney is a teacher at Shawnee Mission West and coached seven years prior to this season in Hutchinson and Emporia.
Delaney competed in track and field in high school and in college at Johnson County Community College and Kansas State University.