On Monday night, the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education approved three key head coaching hires for Smith-Cotton High School athletics.
Kevin Thomas will lead the Tigers boys basketball program, Diane Shipley will take over girls volleyball and Hilliary Owens, who had been an assistant coach the past four years, will move up to become head coach of the Lady Tigers softball team.
Thomas has coached the State Fair Community College men’s basketball team since 2010 and served as an assistant coach in the program for three years. He also played at the collegiate level for four years, two at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff and two years at Drury University in Springfield, where he earned both a bachelor of arts degree in secondary education (2005) and a master’s degree in education (2007).
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. She holds a bachelor of science degree in business from William Woods University.
“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 said Shipley’s name is synonymous with winning volleyball in the area.
“We are fortunate to have someone with her pedigree take over our program and lead us into the future,” Davis said.
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 attended the University of Central Missouri, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education (2010) and a master’s degree in elementary administration (2015).
“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.