Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Schools

September 25, 2012

Coaches support athletic conference move

Knoxville — Last night was the first opportunity the public had to address the Knoxville School Board regarding a possible change in athletic conference, from the Little Hawkeye Conference (LHC) to the South Central Conference (SCC). 

The SCC has invited Knoxville to rejoin its former conference. Regarding high school enrollment, Knoxville's numbers more closely resemble those of the members of the SCC than the LHC. Coaches in attendance Monday night supported the move.

"We struggle getting the girls there in the numbers," Volleyball Coach Eric Fee said. "I think we are competitive in volleyball, but average at best." He believes if Knoxville moves to the SCC, it will be stronger in the conference, which could make a difference regarding the postseason.

"It's a huge win-win for our program," Fee said. Girls' Basketball Coach Jim Uitermarkt agreed.

"I don't think my basketball schedule would change a whole lot," Uitermarkt said. He, as well as Activities Director Randy Wilson, have spoken to people in the community. Most of them favor returning to the SCC. Uitermarkt would not consider the return as "stepping down," but rather putting Knoxville where it belongs. School spirit may also be lifted through a move.

Director Mike Helle pointed out that the community showed strong support for the girls' basketball team, when it made the state tournament in 2010. 

"There has been a significant change," Baseball Coach Joel Johnson said. "We're not nearly as large as we were." 

Johnson believes Knoxville would be a better match for the SCC. He does not think Knoxville compares with towns the size of Norwalk and other members of the LHC.

"I think we fit in much better with the South Central Conference," Johnson said. 

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