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Kanaskie Steps Down as OHS Hoops Coach

By Jason Van Arkel, April 13, 2017

Ottumwa High can now add a coaching search to its spring to-do list.

Kevin Kanaskie confirmed to Ottumwa Radio that he resigned from his position as OHS head boys basketball coach on Thursday morning. He informed the team’s returning players and athletic director Mike Egbert in a series of morning meetings. Kanaskie departs Ottumwa after four seasons on the job.

“Coach Kanaskie brought a level of expertise and intensity to Ottumwa basketball that we haven’t seen for a long time,” said Mark Hanson, OHS principal. “He got a lot of mileage out of his players and demanded 100% out of them at all times. I’m sad to see him go but wish him well.”

The most successful of Kanaskie’s seasons was the 2014-2015 campaign, which was his second. Led on the court by seniors Nic Young and Brok Hopwood, Ottumwa went 10-12 that season, reaching double digits in wins for the first time since OHS was 11-11 in 2008-2009. Graduation hit the program hard, however, and the Bulldogs went 4-18 in the 2015-2016 season.

Last year, Ottumwa improved its record to 6-16, and got better as the season went along. The Bulldogs scuffled to a 1-11 start, but got hot down the stretch, putting together a three-game winning streak and earning victories in five of the last ten contests. OHS also had two narrow misses on the road against top-ten teams, losing on a buzzer-beater at Des Moines Hoover, then falling by just nine on the road at Waukee.

“The kids played hard and were very coachable,” Kanaskie said. “We’ve beaten every team we’ve played at least once with the exception of Hoover. There are a lot of returning players.”

Kanaskie resigned from Ottumwa to take a teaching position at Waukee, where he will also serve as an assistant basketball coach. In some ways, it’s a return to his roots; he worked as Waukee’s freshman basketball coach before Ottumwa hired him four years ago.

“I appreciate Kevin’s dedication to the basketball program at all levels, as well as his work as a PE/health instructor at OHS,” said Mike Egbert, athletic director. “I wish him the best of luck in Waukee.”

There’s no word yet as to any possible replacements for Kanaskie at Ottumwa. The school could consider any one of the assistant coaches on the current staff, or look to applicants from outside the school district.