Brian Brandtner, basketball coach at Caruthersville High School, has been hired as head boys coach and athletics director at Bell City.
Brandtner replaces David Heeb, who recently accepted the head coach position at his alma mater, Scott County Central.
"Once the job opened up, there seemed to be a lot of interest on their part," said Brandtner. "The community and the [school] administration has been awesome. They've welcomed me with open arms and that means a lot. It was just too good to pass up."
Brandtner led the Class 3 Caruthersville program for three years, compiling back-to-back 20-win seasons after a 13-12 start. The Tigers went 22-7 in 2003-04, then 20-9 this past season, which included a second-place finish to Class 5 state champion Poplar Bluff in the SEMO Conference, Caruthersville's inaugural year in the league.
Said Brandtner, "Telling the Caruthersville boys about my decision was one of the toughest things I've ever had to do. We mean a lot to each other, but they understand that I couldn't turn this down."
He will take the reins of a Bell City program that has thrived during Heeb's five-year tenure. The Cubs have unfurled two Class 1 state championship banners in 2002 and 2004 and had a fourth-place finish this past season.
"David did a lot of things with the program that I liked," said Brandtner. "Some things will stay the same and a lot of stuff will change. I do like the level of intensity that they [the players] bring. I won't have to break them into that mode. We're just looking to build on what's already in place."
Brandtner, with eight years in the coaching profession, relishes the idea that the Bell City community is still hungry for championships, and he welcomes the challenge.
"I expect to win every game we play," he said. "I don't need extra pressure from the community to make me want to win. I would hope they would expect to win. Bell City expects greatness and that's a big reason why I'm going there. That's a good pressure to have."
Brandtner will begin his duties at Bell City on June 3. He expects to be active in the community even before his official start date.
"It's an exciting opportunity," he added.