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SM North football coach Grayless resigns after 0-9 season

On the heels of the Shawnee Mission North football team’s first winless season since 1985, head coach Dennis Grayless is resigning his post after three seasons with the Indians, The Sunflower League Football Blog and smnfootball.blogspot.com reported Friday.

The Indians went 0-9 this year, capping a three-year stretch under Grayless in which SM North went 4-24. In its most successful season, in 2010, SM North won two straight in district play to advance to the playoffs but still went 2-8.

Sustained success has been absent at SM North since the departure of former coach Sam Brown in 2004, a stark contrast to sleek renovations on the stadium in 2006. The Indians won two district titles under Brown in 2000 and 2002, going 9-2 and 6-4, respectively and averaged six wins per season from 2000 to 2005.

Since Brown’s departure, the Indians haven’t won more than three games, once going 3-6 in 2008 under Ryan Majors. Majors and Grayless have gone a combined 11-53 since 2005, each resigning.

I caught the tail end of SM North’s latest run as a perennial playoff contender, graduating from the school in 2006. Since that time, SM North’s Sunflower League foes have passed it by. I covered the Indians’ season opener on a humid Aug. 30 evening against Leavenworth. A 16-16 stalemate devolved into a 41-16 defeat after SM North failed to respond to a spate of injuries on its offensive line. Worse still, was the revelation by a pair of team leaders that multiple teammates had doubted their chances of winning before the season’s first game even started. I ran into an assistant coach weeks later, who also said a losing mentality prevailed in the locker room.

Check out SM North alum Adam Sullivan’s blog at smnfootball.blogspot.com, where former Indians quarterback Brock Burrows weighs in on the recent state of the program with some interesting comments.

That intangible will be hard to crack, but is step one in the program’s rebuilding process. In a feature on the rising costs of sports I wrote over the summer, SM North athletic director George Sallas talked about the difficulty of compiling deep rosters of multi-sport athletes as the surrounding attendance area continues to lag behind other district schools in terms of affluence.

This obviously, is something outside of Sallas’ control. Right now, his focus will be on finding another new head coach to try and turn around a sagging program. I like Sullivan’s take on David Reichart, a teacher and assistant coach at SM North for years and a second-team all-league quarterback at SM West in 1991. Reichart has long been entrenched in the community and could provide a spark.

Still, don’t dispel the possibility of an outside hire. SM North’s wounds are deep, and a pair of outside eyes may be what Sallas thinks necessary to patching up the program and returning it to the health it once enjoyed.

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