When does a good coach become a great one? In the arena of athletics, where performance is measured by wins and losses, compiling 400 victories in 23 seasons makes a compelling opening argument that Darrel Knoll should be considered among the great high school basketball coaches in Kansas.
Good coaches have winning seasons on occasion. Great ones find a way to win consistently over time. During his years at HHS, Knoll has suffered only one losing season while enjoying 11 seasons with at least 20 victories (when 20 games comprise the regular season), plus 10 trips to the state tournament and three state championships.
That legacy is particularly impressive at the public high school level, where a coach can?t go out and recruit athletes like a college coach can. The basic challenge of every high school coach is to get the most from the players he?s dealt. Given the natural ebb and flow of gifted athletes at every school, including Hillsboro, Knoll?s record is all the more remarkable.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi noted, ?The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.?
That description fits Knoll to a tee?as it does, frankly, the other coaches we?ve observed at Hillsboro through our years covering Trojan teams. They willingly pay the price, and the rewards are evident far more seasons than not.
But the rewards aren?t automatic. Most coaches we know would say it?s more difficult these days to inspire teenage athletes to put in the extra work required to achieve success. Other interests, both meaningful and frivolous, vie for their time. The challenge is compounded by an increasing number of parents who feel compelled to agitate on their child?s behalf to the point of undermining a coach?s authority.
As former San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell put it, ?The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.?
We congratulate Coach Knoll for his recent achievement, and we wish him?and the coaches in all our schools?continued success as they pay the necessary price so they and their student-athletes might apply the best of themselves to the task at hand. ?DR