Apr. 23—Danny Powers is set to return to a familiar area next school year.
The next chapter of his career takes him back to Barry County — an area he spent four years as a boys basketball coach at Cassville.
Powers, whose run as Neosho's baseball coach is about to end, has been hired as Purdy's next athletics director. He will also serve as the district's K-12 assistant principal.
"My wife (Chelsea) has a lot of family in Purdy, so it just seemed like when that opportunity came up, I wanted to find out a little more about it," Powers said in a phone conversation on Thursday. "The interview went well both ways. It seemed like it would be a good fit."
Powers has spent the last six seasons leading the Neosho baseball program, including this spring. The Wildcats have experienced a tough 2021 campaign, boasting a 2-16 record (0-5 COC) so far.
The former three-sport standout at Carl Junction described his emotions as bittersweet.
"I'm really sad to leave Neosho," Powers said. "I'm proud of what we have done, building a really positive culture and climate. This year hasn't gone the way we have wanted, but our kids still have great attitudes. They are playing hard. I'm going to miss having that direct impact on students that you have when you are able to teach and coach them directly.
"I'm also excited to share what I have learned over the last 13 to 14 years as an administrator and try to use my new knowledge on some other teachers to hopefully see things from a different perspective."
Neosho has reached two district championship games under Powers' tenure. In addition to Cassville, Powers' previous coaching stints also include Liberal and Carl Junction, where he spent a combined four years as a baseball and basketball coach.
Powers, a 2001 Carl Junction graduate, was a standout in football, basketball and baseball for the Bulldogs. He was an NCAA Division II All-American pitcher for Central Missouri and played in the Minnesota Twins organization for several years.
"The community was very supportive of Neosho baseball," Powers said. "Obviously, it's going to be tough leaving a brand new facility (Roy B. Shaver Field) that we have out here. When I said it was bittersweet, it was tough to have that conversation with the players to let them know you aren't coming back. Hopefully over the past six years, we have created a culture where the kids are not only learning baseball, but learning the life lessons that come along with it.
"The next coach is going to have a lot of young talent. Our Achilles' heel this year has been pitching, so whoever takes over if they can get our kids to consistently throw strikes, I think they are going to be pretty successful. Neosho has a chance to be pretty solid for years to come."
Powers' official start date is July 15 at Purdy. He will continue coaching travel baseball in the 4-State Area this summer.
"If it wasn't for the opportunity to move into that educational/administration role, I would be perfectly happy being here at Neosho," Powers said. "I want to thank Neosho, the school board, Mr. (Dan) Decker who originally hired me, Cori Reid, Brandi Arthur, Jim Cummins and Trent Barratt for supporting me over these years. I'm certainly going to miss my time here."