Branson High School was left reeling after losing its boys basketball coach one month after he accepted the job.
Coach Kirk Hanson was left jobless after a consolidation of Central Bible College and Evangel University wiped out his CBC men’s basketball program.
Now, both say it’s a match made in heaven.
Branson hired Hanson on Tuesday after the 58-year-old won three national championships and more than 700 games in 34 years with the Spartans.
“One thing we’ve learned is that the Lord’s faithful,” Hanson said.
Added Branson athletic director Tony Berry: “It was the power of God.”
The move comes after Tim Brown accepted the Branson job in April, only to change his mind and stay at Fair Grove a month later.
Berry was reminded about Hanson being without a job and left his number with the school. Hanson called him last week, setting the hire in motion.
“He considered it as a huge open door and a blessing for him, and there you go,” Berry said. “We had some really good applicants. But coach Hanson still has the passion; I compare it to a guy in his first year out of college. He wants to teach and he wants to win.”
Hanson was 737-484 at his alma mater and was National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year four times. He spent the last 41 years at CBC: Four as a player and three as an assistant before taking over the top job.
“They were most kind and hospitable during the process,” said Hanson, a Missouri Sports Hall of Famer who will teach health in Branson. “Just the uniqueness of Branson – it’s a quality program. And I was real impressed with the quality of people.
“It’s going to be an adjustment, there’s no question about it. But it’s going to be a lot of fun and exciting.”
Hanson will finally put to use a master’s degree and teaching certificate he earned many years ago at then-Southwest Missouri State while he was an assistant at CBC.
“Who would’ve thought 35 years later I would need that?” Hanson said. “To see it come to an end, the last year was very, very difficult. But with this opportunity, I’m just excited.”
Branson won the Central Ozark Conference Large Division championship last season, and will return Da’Quan Ervin next year, as one of the top players in southwest Missouri.
Brian McTague stepped down as Branson coach after the season, becoming the new coach at Glendale.