One of the reasons the school board voted to change conferences was that, “Most schools in Little Cedar had a much greater population than South Tama. We were the smallest public school in Little Hawkeye,” said Plantz. The only school smaller than STC in Little Hawkeye was the private school, Pella Christian.
The NICL is broken up into two divisions. The schools in the East Division are: Aplington-Parkersburg, Denver, Dike-New Hartford, Hudson, Jesup, Northern University High, Union, La Porte City and Wapsie Valley, Fairbank. The West Division schools, including STC, are: AGWSR, BCLUW, East Marshall, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Grundy Center, South Hardin and West Marshall. “The NICL is a very fine conference,” said Plantz. “Now that we’re one of the bigger schools in the conference it doesn’t automatically guarantee success. But, we are on the top side of life.”
Along with the change in conferences, Plantz is looking to his coaches to provide the motivation for success. “I expect coaches to give everything. Be a model. I know we’ll get that.” And, looking at his coaching staff this fall, Plantz has high hopes. Michelle Bradley joins the Activites Department this year as the new head volleyball coach. “Michelle played volleyball here and graduated from South Tama,” he said. “Even though it’ll be her first year coaching the team, we have some high expectations from her and her staff.” Plantz is also expecting another strong performance from the cross country team. “George Kuhter is our most established fall coach,” he said. Khuter, who’s been a member of the STC staff since 1992 and currently heads both track and cross country, coached two cross country runners to the state finals last year.
Plantz also spoke a bit about the football season which isn’t affected by the conference change. “Jay Hoskey was our most dominant wresting coach. He was also assistant when I was head football coach,” he said. “He’s familiar with the school and the program and what needs to be done. More imporantly, Jay knows how to get it done.” When asked if he thought the varsity team would make it to the playoffs Plantz said, “ The top 4 teams in the division go to the state so I don’t think it’s beyond hope.” “No,” he grinned, “it’s not beyond realistic.”
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in all of our coaches,” he said, “and I think we’re in good shape coming into this fall.”
Plantz also has high expectation for the atheletes but it’s not just about the sports. “A lot of people become highly critical of the kids,” he said, and in some respects, “we expect them to provide us with entertainment. That’s not why we’re here. Our main purpose with the Activities Department is to teach them things on the field and the band room that they can’t learn in the classroom.” The one thing he expects from the students is participation. “Give it a shot, get involved.
It’s proven that kids who participate in athletics and fine arts do better academically. It improves performance in the classroom, builds character and makes model citizens.” And once they do become involved, he expects the same from them that he expects from the coaches. “When they walk off the field and lay their head on the pillow that night they need to ask themselves, ‘did I give it my all?’ If so, then there’s nothing more we can ask.”