Kruse named West Platte girls basketball coach

John Kruse has been named West Platte’s new girls basketball coach.

John Kruse

John Kruse

The school announced his hiring as a high school social studies teacher and basketball late last month. He replaces Jennifer Lawson, who won’t return after the Bluejays went 1-20 last year. She resigned to spend more time with her children and family.

“I had some people in the administration at West Platte tell me there may be an opening,” Kruse told The Citizen. “Mr. (Vincent) Matlick (high school principal) is from Centralia, which is eight miles from Sturgeon and we knew of each other from his time up here. It ended up working out and it is a good opportunity for me.”

Kruse brings a wealth of coaching and administrative background to Weston. He began teaching at Marceline, where he was the boys basketball coach.

He moved onto Sturgeon, where he was the girls coach for five seasons – three seasons as a teacher and the past two as the high school principal.

Sturgeon is one of the smallest Class 2 schools with 130 students and competes in a conference that is loaded with talent. In three of the past five years, a team from the league has been in the Show-Me Showdown in either Class 1 or Class 2.

Sturgeon went 20-9 two years ago and won a district title, before falling to eventual state semifinalist Cairo — a conference foe — in the sectionals. Sturgeon went to the district title three times in Kruse’s five years there. 

He has already done research on the KCI Conference and knows how tough it will be to get a spot at the top of the conference. 

He will work with the Bluejays, a young squad last year, this summer in preparation for the upcoming season. He plans to install a fast-paced offense with a lot of dribble-drive penetration while attacking the hoop. 

A native of Salisbury, Mo., Kruse graduated with a history degree from Missouri. He earned his master’s from William Woods and is working on a specialist and doctorate from William Woods.