The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education approved hiring three head coaches for Smith-Cotton High School on Monday night.

Kevin Thomas will lead the Tigers boys basketball program, Diane Shipley will take over girls volleyball and Hilliary Owens, who has been an assistant coach the past four years, will become the head coach of the Lady Tigers softball team.

Thomas has coached the State Fair Community College men’s basketball team since 2010. Before taking over the SFCC program he had served as an assistant coach in the program for three years.

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“Kevin Thomas is absolutely the right coach at the right time to come in and lead our boys basketball program,” said Smith-Cotton Athletic Director Rob Davis. “He has a comprehensive plan to develop or improve every facet of our program and his impact will be felt immediately. He has a long-term vision that understands the importance of re-developing our youth programs, focusing on player development, and establishing continuity. He is a man of high character who will develop leadership, work ethic, and accountability in his team.”

Thomas said he is excited to come into the position and looks forward to working with all the young men involved with the basketball program. He added, "My expectations are to build a program, build consistency and when our kids come through the program and graduate they will have a plan for their next step after Smith-Cotton, whether it be playing basketball at the collegiate level or going into the workforce or going to college.”

Shipley is a volleyball veteran, having coached for 10 years at SFCC, three years at Central Methodist University and three years at Otterville High School.

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“I’m excited to be starting at a big school,” Shipley said. “I have heard good things about some of the players and I am excited about the challenge and opportunity.”

Davis stated, “We are fortunate to have someone with her pedigree take over our program and lead us into the future. She is a driven coach who knows success and understands how to build and rebuild programs."

Owens is a Smith-Cotton alumna who has taught at Skyline Elementary School since August 2011. She has coached and umpired in the Sedalia Girls Softball League and played intramural softball at the University of Central Missouri.

Bob Satnan

"I am extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater,” she said. “I have high expectations for these girls this season and I'm ready to get started."

Davis said Owens is ingrained in Smith-Cotton and Sedalia-area softball.

“We feel she can develop the relationships necessary with our feeder programs and local recreational programs to break through any barriers that may exist and get us all pulling in one direction,” Davis said. “She is passionate about leading our program to a higher level of competitiveness and, with the proper support from all stakeholders, has the ability to make that happen. Coach Owens coaches with positivity and her players love playing for her.”