There were two very good reasons for Dillon Higdon to leave Potosi for a job at West Platte.
A Park Hill South graduate, Higdon comes back across the state to take over the Blue Jays boys basketball program. He also hopes to see a few more familiar faces after a successful two-year stint with Potosi. “(Kansas City) is where I’m from,” Higdon said Monday while in King City for a preseason shootout with his new team. “I moved down there (to Potosi) by myself, me and my dog. It was just kind of lonely.” Higdon represents a monumental change for West Platte basketball. He replaces Zane Tanner, who recently left to take the boys basketball job at Kearney after 17 years at the helm of the Blue Jays. He accrued a record of 320-195 with five KCI Conference championships and nine district titles. Four of those postseason appearances resulted in state semifinal berths, including runner-up showings in 2003 and 2013. West Platte reached the Class 2 quarterfinals this past season, losing to eventual state champion Sacred Heart (Sedalia) in what turned out to be Tanner’s final game. Higdon’s inherited roster includes few proven returners, and West Platte loses the services of two-time all-state performers in Adam Roe and Bryce Cashman – both standouts signed to play Division I basketball. Higdon sees a big difference in this rebuilding project compared to his last. “The difference between here and Potosi is Potosi was used to losing,” Higdon said. “I have kids here that are used to winning, whether they were big parts of it or not. “Here, they want to be competitive and people expect us to win basketball games.” This also marks a switch from previous coaching experience at Class 4 and 5 programs to a smaller school with a prevalence of like-sized opponents. Higdon’s coaching career started at his alma mater with a three-year stint as varsity assistant and junior varsity head coach. After that, he went east to Potosi – a smaller community located southwest of St. Louis. Prior to Higdon’s arrival, Potosi went 3-22 overall and 0-5 in its division of the Mineral Area Athletics Association. He helped increase the win total to six in 2012-13 despite another winless league season before going 16-11 (3-2) this past season, winning the 12-team MAAA Tournament with an upset of eventual Class 4 state semifinalist Farmington along the way. Higdon always expected his stay at Class 4 Potosi to be only a stop. “They wanted me to come back. They were very hesitant to accept my resignation, and I thought that was a good thing,” Higdon said. Higdon graduated from Park Hill South in 2003 after earning all-state honors his senior season. He originally signed with the University of Idaho – a Division I school in Moscow, Idaho – and even made nine starts as a sophomore before transferring back closer to home. After a redshirt season due to shoulder surgery, Higdon played one season at Northwest Missouri State (2006-07), helping the Bearcats to a share of an MIAA Conference title while averaging 6.4 points per game in a mostly reserve role. He didn’t play the following season despite a remaining year of eligibility to focus on his studies. That led him to Park Hill South for one season during student teaching and then three more years as a professional. This new job brings him back close to home. His parents still reside in Kansas City, while his older sister resides in Parkville.