Commentary: Built For Success

by David Brox,

I consider myself to be a fair person.  I am loyal to my SHUKC teams and have a strong desire to see them be successful.  When I kicked off the petition conversation I didn’t realize it would get as much play as it did.  Our website has grown to the point that in the last 30 days we have gotten over 18k page views.  My day 1 goal is to help create exposure for student athletes in our coverage area.  If there were players from the area doing big things then my only ask was for a place at the table and I am proud of where we have gotten as a community.

There are situations where I am loyal to a fault and I wanted to make sure that I was being responsible in my pursuit of this conversation.  I have had a few twitter conversations with Bishop Miege former head coach and now assistant Tim Grunhard since 2013.  As a Chiefs fan of many years I obviously have a lot of respect for the man as a player and coach of the game but we have been on opposite sides of this conversation.  I was happy to get an invite to come out to Miege’s practice and get a look at the operation.

I use the word operation because that is how the practice flowed.  I honestly have not attended a good number of practices but will need to do so hopefully in the next few weeks to compare.  I do know that Coach Applebee at Mill Valley runs an incredibly tight schedule during a game week.  What stuck out from the beginning of the practice was the precision of how it was run.  The entire practice scripted from beginning to end with little wasted motion other than to move from an open field down to the football field after soccer practice.

All the coaches carried around their script for that day and head coach Jon Holmes was the conductor.  One of the questions asked was how many coaches assist and the answer to this is 10 total at the practice I attended.  One of those coaches is likely one of the hottest names in the area from a young coach perspective, Justin Hoover.  It was my first time meeting coach Hoover but I have certainly heard of him.  He was referred to as the QB doctor as he trains a good number of the top QB’s in the Kansas City area and surprisingly in the EKL.  Just in speaking to him he reminded me of our own Austin Bennett.  He was a backup at Pitt State but obviously soaked up a lot of knowledge that he is able to teach today.  With success stories like Ryan Willis and what we are seeing from junior Carter Putz it becomes clear why QB is a locked in position for Miege.

On this particular day they were working through their scouting of Spring Hill.  On offense and defense the coaches have spent many hours in the film room breaking down the Broncos fronts of offense and defense.  Each run, shift and formation is reviewed and shared with the starters.  Every blitz and defensive alignment is reviewed with the offensive line and RB’s to make sure Putz will have the time he needs in the pocket.  The players have gotten into such an incredible routine that it is easy to see why they execute so well.

The prevailing thought amongst those that are anti Miege is that they recruit.  I think what has become incredibly apparent to me is that they don’t have to.  The analogy I would use would be some of the best barbecue in the city.  I am a fan of Joe’s and Jack Stack myself but rarely if ever do I see these places advertise on TV.  They again don’t have to because they have a quality product that anyone with some research can see and will want to come try.

They have one of the best QB trainers and coaches in the metro area so guess where the best QB’s will want to come?

They have a former NFL lineman and college coach teaching the offensive line so guess where the good ones will want to come?

If you are a wide receiver then guess where you will want to come?  To play with the best QB’s.

It then becomes a perfect storm for this program.  You have homegrown talent on the team for sure.  I have a donation receipt to prove that they are pulling the athletes from all across the metro from private schools.  The decline of a school like Bishop Ward has opened up a flood gate of potential players skipping Ward and heading east on 18th street expressway.  Are all these players world beaters?  The answer is no but they are good players that come ready to work and have been trained in a fashion to make them successful.  Couple this with some of the best skill position players like Jafar Armstrong and even our own SHUKC Top Prospect in 2014 and 2015 Brison Cobbins and you get the picture.

I have said from the beginning.  Bishop Miege is not this good on accident.  There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that has built an incredible high school program.  With all that I outlined above however it is now even more clear to me that this team still has no place in 4A.  It is borderline impossible for a public school to replicate this.  No matter how many camps or programs coaches like Chris Brindle at Piper, Rod Stallbaumer at Basehor-Linwood and Al Troyer at Tonganoxie hold.  They are holding that camp or program with a random set of kids.  The Miege program is not built off its enrollment number.  Why does this matter?  The enrollment is supposed to indicate the randomness in your ability to put together your teams each year.  The key word in this that sentence is random.  Organized has an advantage over random.  

Solving this is not cut and dry.  I wrote an idea down last year and still think it could be a basis for discussion.  ARTICLE

Much more to come on this topic I am sure.  I really do appreciate the Miege staff for inviting me out.  It really does help offer some perspective.


  1. "The prevailing thought amongst those that are anti Miege is that they recruit. I think what has become incredibly apparent to me is that they don't have to." If that were the case, then why do students continue to tell us that they have been openly contacted by coaches at Miege over the past few years. Kids in KCKAL have become like community colleges for D1 high school programs like Miege.

    Let's not forget also that this does not apply to just football. Sumner soccer had an amazing season, and was teh 4 seed against a double digit loss St James team in the regional this past week, and while I am proud of what the Sabre team did on the field, you could tell that the 13 seed St James was a powerful machine that will probably win state. It is just unacceptable that these teams (Aquinas and Bishop Carroll, Miege, Hayden and ST James all play in 6A leagues, but are allowed to devastate and obliterate regionals in every major sport in 4A and 5A.

    Dave, just curious….How does that practice compare to the practices at KCKAL schools?

  2. Just so I can demonstrate that this is truly a state problem like Mr. Brox brought up several weeks ago, here is a quote from the Topeka Capital Journal from Topeka Seaman Soccer Coach, whose team was undefeated going into regional play and the top seed….AND NOW THEY ARE OUT AFTER ROUND ONE. Why? See his comments below.

    "Facing perennial powerhouse Aquinas in the second round was a tough draw for the Vikings, who were unbeaten through 14 games and earned the top seed with a 12-1-3 record. Both coaches said an eighth-seeded Saints team (10-5-3) that has played in three straight title games doesn’t bode well for the rest of the 5A bracket."

  3. The biggest advantage is numbers. Many of the KCK teams do not have numbers to platoon players to one side of the ball. So it would be difficult to operate like Miege. I honestly have not watched a practice lately to compare so I won't speculate.

  4. Thought it would be interesting to see how the 2016 season has gone so far…

    Results from KSHSAA Website

    Volleyball 4AII – Champion Topeka Hayden (1st)
    Volleyball 4A – Runner Up – Miege (2nd)
    Volleyball 5A – ST Aquinas (4th) ST James (Runner Up) (2nd)

    Boys Soccer – 4A-1A Miege and Trinity Academy Still alive in final 8
    Boys Soccer – 5A Kapaun Mt Carmel and Bishop Carroll, ST Thomas Aquinas and St
    James still alive in final 8

    5A Girls Tennis – St James (3rd) Kapaun Mt Carmel (2nd)

    5A Girls Golf – Carroll (7th), St James (3rd) St Thomas Aquinas (2nd) Kapaun Mt
    Carmel (1st)

    4A Girls Golf – Hayden (2nd), Trinity Academy (1st)

    5A Cross Country Boys – Carroll (5th), St Thomas Aquinas (1st)
    5A Cross Country Girls – Carroll (4th), St James (2nd), St Thomas Aquinas (1st)

    Football Pending and Soccer Pending

    But it appears that Private Schools in Kansas (talking only 4A Divisions and 5A) have won 5 State Titles so far out of a possible 8. (63%) And have taken 1st or Second Place or 3rd Place – receive a trophy – 13 times out of a possible 21 places. (62%)

    Soccer and Football are pending, but many of these schools are still alive and would guess favored to at least get to the final 4. Just a talking point.

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