Doug Kerr is known to most locals as Iola High’s head football coach.
He’s also Iola’s golf coach, and he helps with his children’s softball, baseball and T-ball teams.
A three-month stretch from November to January is the only time he isn’t officially on duty.
Kerr got his start in coaching in Florida after one of his college coaches in St. Louis took a job in Florida and invited him to follow along as an assistant.
Kerr coached football, wrestling and baseball in his 14 years in Florida before deciding he wanted to come back to Kansas to be closer to family.
It so happened that Iola had an opening. It’s been a good fit. Since Kerr took over in 2012, Iola has gone 11-7, finishing above .500 in consecutive years.
While he thinks about how to score touchdowns during the fall, Kerr spends the spring thinking about which golf club to use. The Mustang golf team has seen unprecedented success the past two seasons.
“I’ve always enjoyed golf and worked at a golf course down in Florida on the side while I was coaching,” Kerr said. “It’s not a passion but something I enjoy doing. It’s so opposite from football and it’s relaxing that I got involved.”
Kerr said golf has probably been the easier sport to coach in Iola, in large part because of the Mustangs’ talent level on the links.
“When you have a good team, coaching golf is the easiest,” Kerr said. “We are so blessed with great golfers in Iola, it’s more of guidance than coaching.”
Kaden Macha won the Class 4A State Golf Tournament as a sophomore two seasons ago. Shane Walden, Drake Dieker, Adam Peterson, Weston Hines and Matt Jacobs also have made Kerr’s job as golf coach easier.
KERR’S summers are spent helping coach his own children: Olivia, 11, Ben, 8, and Franklin, 5.
Coaching his kids is a balancing act.
“It’s different,” Kerr said. “On one hand, you’re constantly worried about, ‘Am I too hard on them, or am I too easy on them?’ There’s that tough balance. But, on the positive side, I get to be right there with them and experience sports, up close and personal.”
Ben is entering his first year with the youth football league. Kerr is looking forward to seeing his son play.
“For one, I always enjoy watching,” Kerr said. “But, he’s been around it since he’s been born, so I’m curious to see if the things that he learned from me show on the field.”
Kerr realizes injuries are a possibility, but that’s in any sport.
“It’s just for some reason, kids his age and older find ways to get injured,” Kerr said. “While there are dangers in football, they can get hurt, I’m aware of that, but I don’t feel any concerns that we’re putting him in jeopardy by putting him out there with kids his age.”
Kerr noted a key difference between a sport like football when compared to baseball, where younger kids can compete against older players.
That can’t happen in football, due to the size difference between age groups.
“In football, there’s the physical size difference. I wouldn’t be excited about that,” Kerr said. “As long as the kids are his size and ability, then he should be fine.”
SCHOOL ENROLLMENT this week signifies high school football is about to start. Aug. 18 marks the first day of practice.
Iola opens the 2014 season Sept. 5 at Santa Fe Trail.