Friday was just another day in the southwest Missouri basketball coaching carousel, as one high-profile job was filled and another came open.
Branson hired former Drury University player Tim Brown away from Fair Grove to coach its boys team, and Yancey Little stepped away after a highly successful nine-year run with the Ozark girls team.
The moves come in another tumultuous spring for local high school basketball coaches. After a laundry list of big-name coaches moved into the area last spring, boys jobs at Branson, Glendale and Ozark have come open this year, among others.
Brown coached for two years at Fair Grove, amassing a 36-18 mark and finishing second to Strafford both years in the Mid-Lakes Conference.
“It appears to be a great fit. Everything that Branson stands for is everything that I stand for,” Brown said. “Branson has always been a job that I’ve had my eyes on. Coaches at the lower levels always have a list that jobs will be appealing, and this is one of them for me.”
The 26-year-old was an All-Ozarks player in 2005 for Rogersville, and is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in Drury’s history.
The Branson job came available after Brian McTague left for Glendale after one season.
McTague led the Pirates to a Central Ozark Conference Large Division title and Da’Quan Ervin will return for his senior season as one of the area’s standouts.
“The job speaks for itself when you look in the last 10 years at wins and championships and players playing at the next level,” Brown said. “With the great run of players they had in the last 10 years, we hope to continue the success.
“Hopefully there are kids that want to be the next great Pirates. That’s what exciting for me.”
Brown’s father, Larry, stepped down as coach and athletic director at Spokane this winter.
At Ozark, Little said he will be staying on as softball coach at the Christian County school, and adding baseball assistant coaching responsibilities to his plate.
“There was a time when I thought I might try to do all three,” Little said. “But I didn’t want to do a bad job in all three because I wanted to do all three.”
Little won consecutive state championships in 2005 and ’06, his first two seasons with the Lady Tigers.
He also won five district championships and compiled a nine-year record of 197-61 (.764). He also helped the softball team to state this fall.
“It’s one of those deals that I’ve kind of been contemplating for a while,” Little said. “It’s going to be a transition period for the program. Some of them are excited for a new opportunity and some that are sad. It’s kind of just part of it.”
Little, a Clever native, came to Ozark after being the boys basketball and baseball coach at Blue Eye.
The change is the latest at Ozark, which will have a new athletic director, boys basketball coach and girls basketball coach next year.
Terry Jamieson, the former Cassville AD, will fill the athletic director spot as Mark Caballero moves to Jefferson City. Steve Hunter stepped down earlier this month and a replacement has not yet been named for the boys coaching job.