Greene Co. Athletics: A new era
By BRANDON HURLEY
A new era of Greene County athletics will begin in the weight room.
First-year varsity football coach and the next Greene County activities director Mitch Moore is keen on improving the conditioning of each athlete in the school, football through golf and everything in between.
He’s spotted a noticeable gap between other schools of Greene County’s size. As AD, Moore will also spearhead the strength and conditioning programs across all sports at the Jefferson school.
“We are behind,” the former ISU football assistant said. “We have to set a precedent and build our culture with our athletics through strength and conditioning. Coaches need to be all in on that.”
Moore was hired in February as the head football coach, replacing Dean Lansman, who resigned after 15 years with the program.
Lansman is filling out his role as the current AD, but will step aside as soon as the summer season wraps up.
Moore has latched on in the community in his short time here, pushing his guys to offer their services for volunteer opportunities while motivating them to work hard on their craft. He’s hoping to bring an attitude he feels the Rams sorely lack and he wants to involve all the towns in the county. Moore feels he can bring Greene County athletics as a whole back to championship level.
“I preach to the football guys a lot, culture beats scheme,” Moore said. “We have to develop a culture around here. And there is some tradition around here and we have to get that back.”
Moore, a Ballard High School graduate and former Division II wide receiver, is diving head first into weight training as his first and most heavy-handed initiative. The football team is in the midst of summer workouts in which they hit the weight room four days a week in the early morning hours. Moore hopes to set an example the other high school sports will follow.
“We [need] to have really extensive offseason programs where we are lifting at least three times a week,” Moore said. “We’ve got to do a good job of pushing ourselves in season. You’ve got to grow.”
Moore feels weight training and conditioning is the ultimate building block for high school athletes.
“This is the biggest time in their lives to grow, whether that’s from a physical stand point or that’s mentally,” Moore said. “In strength and conditioning, you can get so many avenues of growth through that. We have to have full commitment.”
The all-sport training programs will be held at the school weight room while private lessons can be taken through the GCYAA and the Jefferson Fieldhouse.
The former Division I high school relations director wants to drive up sports participation as well. Moore is a native of Huxley, graduating from Ballard High School. He played wide receiver at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, graduating in 2008. Moore helped his team to the NCAA Division III national title, earning him the Forrest Perkins Award.
The husband and father of one is anxious to get Greene County soccer rolling and will require his football players to participate in track or soccer each spring.
Moore wants to elevate the winter sports as well.
“We’ve got to get our wrestling program to be a state contender every year,” Moore said. “We have tough kids in this community.”
But, that success won’t come through specialization. He wants the athletes of Greene County to broaden their horizons. If the athletic department wants to grow, he expects his coaches to support multi-sport athletes.
“This idea of being a one sport athlete and not helping your teammates out in other sports. To me, that’s not how you build a culture,” Moore said. “We need more multi-sport athletes. If you are going to be in our athletic program, you are going to be involved with strength and conditioning. Our coaches have to buy into it as well.”
MORTON, EBERLY TO HEAD TRACK PROGRAMS
A pair of Greene County mainstays have been appointed by activities director Mitch Moore to fill the boys’ and girls’ track and field vacancies.
Chad Morton, a special education teacher, assistant football coach and junior varsity boys’ basketball coach will take over the boys’ track and field team. He steps in to replace Dean Lansman, who resigned to take a position in the North Polk school district.
Ryan Eberly has been promoted to head coach of the girls’ track and field program, replacing long-time coach, Kelly Simpson, who recently retired following a 32-year career with the Rams.
Eberly was previously the seventh grade girls’ track coach.
Morton has been an Iowa High School track official since 2002 and also won a handful of track titles at CAL-Latimer High School. He ran track at Graceland College as well. Eberly is a graduate of IKM-Manning High School where he was a six-time state track qualifier. He also attended Buena Vista University and ran sprints for the Beavers.
“Both those guys will do a fantastic job,” Moore said. “They are very knowledgable and it will be my job to (sit down) with them and develop an offseason conditioning program. We are excited about that.”
No hire has been made in relation to the opening Simpson left in the cross country program and Moore has not made a decision on coaches in the new soccer program either.
“I want [coaches] that are, No. 1, dedicated to the kids,” Moore said. “And No. 2, have an extensive knowledge of the sport and can show me a plan of what they are going to do.”