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Sherman tempted by job offers
Pirate head coach expects decision by week's end

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

For the past 18 years, Chip Sherman has walked the sidelines as head football coach of the Platte County Pirates.
During that time, Sherman has won 171 games and lost 34 with a winning percentage of better than 83%.

In 2000, his teams began a 52 game win streak that produced three state titles.

Now after all that success, the Pirates’ gridiron leader is considering offers from at least two other Kansas City metropolitan schools.

While rumors have circulated in previous years questioning Sherman’s return to the Pirates, this year’s rumors were confirmed when he interviewed with a Kansas school, Shawnee Mission Northwest, in mid-December.

In an interview with The Landmark on Monday afternoon, Sherman confirmed that he is considering offers from Shawnee Mission Northwest and Kearney. As reported on last week, on Wednesday of this week he is returning to Kearney to speak with district officials in a second interview.

According to Sherman, Kearney has become a point of interest because of their “good community base.”

“If you look at football records, obviously Platte County has a lot more wins than Kearney,” said Sherman. “It’s just one of those things that you’ve just got a feeling.”

Sherman stated that while both offerings come from schools coming off of less-than-winning seasons, 2-7 this year for Northwest and 5-5 for Kearney, these offers are something he has to consider for his family.

“None of the programs are like Platte County, where we’ve never had a losing season (in his time at the school),” stated Sherman.

“I owe it to my family. All of my kids are out of school and now I have the opportunity to explore some things.”

If Sherman determines now is the best time for him to step away from those Platte County sidelines, timing will be the center of his decision.

“You could be somewhere for a long time like I have been here and sometimes change is good and it can breathe new life into you. It’s just a matter of the timing being right,” stated Sherman.

According to the Pirate head coach, he also sees the move as a challenge.

“Professionally, I’m looking forward to another challenge of having to rebuild. That part could be fun.”
On the other hand, Sherman is struggling with years of family ties to R-3.

“There’s so much loyalty there. I see my children’s names up on walls from state championships in football, wrestling and cross country; one daughter was a prom queen and the other a courtwarming queen,” he stated. “There’s a lot of history there for the Shermans. There are six lives that went through there for a long, long time. That’s their home.”

Sherman became a top candidate at Shawnee Mission Northwest this year after the district chose not to retain Scott Diebold for 2006. Kearney Bulldog coach Mark Thomas announced in December he was leaving to become an assistant at Jefferson City.

While Northwest officials had initially indicated they wanted a decision from Sherman by this Wednesday, Sherman told The Landmark that the district has now extended the deadline.

No firm date has been established, according to Sherman, but said he plans on making a final decision concerning both job offers by the end of the week.

“I should have all the abc’s and everything in line (by this weekend),” said Sherman.

Once his decision has been made, Sherman said the first item of business will be to notify the kids at Platte County.

“It’s going to be tough looking at those kids,” he said. “You couldn’t have better kids than there are at Platte County. It’s one of the reasons I stayed at Platte County is because of the great kids and great families.”

For Sherman, an advantage to remaining with the Pirates or accepting the position in Kearney is that he is two years short of reaching 25 in Missouri, which is a critical level for his pension.

“Professionally this is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make by far,” Sherman stated. “When I left Grandview before I came here it was hard because of the great kids, but I didn’t have the memories I had walking down the halls I have here.”

Both job offers with the different programs would pay Sherman more than he is currently receiving at Platte County.

As Platte County High School's driver’s education teacher, Sherman earns $55,541 annually, plus the annual salary of $5,580 as the school's head football coach. The district also pays him an hourly fee as the weight room supervisor.

“I’m not really motivated by money. Every one of the jobs pays more than I get now but I wouldn’t ask for it (raise) and I wouldn’t expect it,” said Sherman.

If Sherman does decide it’s his time to move on, he said he hopes the district won’t look far for a successor.

“I hope it would be someone on the current staff. If they would ask me I would hope someone of the current staff would get it,” stated Sherman.

Sherman took over at Platte County for the 1988 season, replacing Doug Hedrick, who had guided a previously downtrodden program to the playoffs twice in his six years at the helm.
Sherman eventually took the program to new heights and accomplishments.

According to Sherman, the achievement on the Pirates’ gridiron should be attributed to many people.

“There’s a lot of other people that deserve it with me—other coaches, players, and a lot of other people that deserve it besides me,” he stated.

“Platte County’s success goes beyond wins and loses. Platte County football is a lot bigger than just Chip Sherman. They’ll be successful if I go and successful if I stay. It is built on pretty solid ground and when it’s built on solid ground like that, it will survive whether I’m here or not.”


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