Tanner leaving West Platte for Kearney

Zane Tanner’s professional coaching/teaching career can be summed up rather quickly: it’s all the West Platte School District. With the exception of an undergraduate assistant coaching job at Missouri Western State University, Tanner has never coached or taught anywhere but West Platte. “It’s the only thing I know,” said Tanner, who for the last 17 seasons was head coach of one of the most successful small-class boys basketball teams in the state. So, Tanner said it was a tough decision to leave West Platte. But when he was offered the head boys basketball coaching position at Kearney High School, he decided it was time to broaden his horizon. Tanner said last week he accepted the job to take over the Bulldogs’ boys basketball program. “I will be closer to my family and cut down on the drive time,” said Tanner, 40, who lives with his wife and three young sons in Liberty. “(It will be) a new challenge and experience.” Tanner, who in addition to head basketball coach, also served as a physical education teacher, head baseball coach and filled various assistant coaching posts during his West Platte tenure, guided the Bluejays to new heights on the basketball court. He posted a record of 320-195 in his 17 seasons and his teams won five KCI Conference championships, nine district titles and advanced to four state playoff final four berths. The Jays played in state championship games and were state runners-up in 2003 and 2013. Tanner grew up in northwest Arkansas, before his family relocated to Savannah, where he graduated from high school in the early 1990s. He attended Iowa Western University, where he played baseball and basketball, before returning to northwest Missouri. “I loved everything about Weston and I’m going to miss it,” Tanner said. West Platte High School Principal Dr. Logan Lightfoot said the feeling is mutual. “For almost two decades, West Platte students have benefited from having Mr. Tanner teaching our PE classes and coaching numerous successful basketball teams,” Lightfoot said. “He will certainly be the same role model of sportsmanship and integrity for Kearney student athletes. We wish Zane and his family the best as they begin a new chapter in their lives.” Kearney High School Athletic Director Eric Marshall said Tanner’s successes at West Platte were impressive. “We were aware of his success there and were excited to interview him for our position,” Marshall said. “We think he will be a great fit for us as far as his temperament, his philosophy and what he expects from his players. We’re excited to have him join our program and get to work.”