After 25 years teaching in the Park Hill School District, Andy Keefer is retiring and stepping down in his role as the girls track and field coach at Park Hill South.
Keefer spent five years coaching at Park Hill and then moved over to South when it opened 20 years ago.
He guided the Panthers to the Class 4A title in 2000 in the third year of existence and to a runner-up finish in 3A the year prior.
“Luckily back then I didn’t understand how involved it was, I just muddled my way through and got along. By the end of it, it was a pretty smooth running machine,” Keefer said.
The former government teacher at South will not be done coaching though. He has taken a job at St. Pius X in Kansas City and will help out with the cross country and track and field program at the parochial school that will be joining the Midland Empire Conference.
“It’ll be odd,” he said. “Twenty years of doing it one way and something new next year.”
The school found a replacement for Keefer by hiring boys assistant coach Chris Leibrand, a 2007 Park Hill South graduate.
Leibrand just concluded his fourth year on the staff, coaching the sprinters and triple jumpers.
As an athlete, Liebrand was a sprinter and twice earned all-state medals as a Panther. In 2006, he was eighth in the 400-meter dash and in 2007 he was on the sixth-place 4x100-meter relay. The highlight of his senior year was winning the 400 dash at the KU Relays.
His prowess on the track earned him a spot to run at Lewis University, a Division II school near Chicago.
He earned his degree in aviation administration but then went back to college in 2013 to earn an education degree at Rockhurst and later added a master’s in business education from the Kansas City Jesuit university.
He just wrapped up his second year teaching at his alma mater. Leibrand learned in early June he would be the next girls coach.
“I knew I wanted to go for the position,” said Liebrand, who is also a boys cross country assistant coach. “I knew I’d have big shoes to fill. He is the only coach we had and that is intimidating in a sense. He does such a great job coaching and they love him.
“It is an honor (to be named coach). Park Hill South shaped who I am.”