David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

KANSAS- Unless you happened to be in Tulsa at the Mabee Center during All-State Week, you probably weren’t aware that Kansas High School’s Steve Odle was named Girls Coach of the Year by the Oklahoma Coaches Association.

Odle is not the type to flaunt the trophies of his success, but over the past several years they have grown in number. In addition to picking up his 500th career win, the Comet coach brought home the prestigious Oklahoma’s Best Tournament championship, Jay’s Tri-State Tournament Trophy and his third state title this past season. Odle, who was selected one of six district coaches of the year, was presented his ring and plaque as the state’s COTY during the halftime ceremonies of the All-State Basketball Game.

Before taking over the Lady Comet helm, Coach Odle spent 14 years at Grove and two at Jay, where his squads garnered State Championships and runners up hardware as well. Since coming to Kansas he has notched over 300 victories and only 60 losses for one of the most enviable records in the state.

In addition to leading the Lady Comet basketball program, he also coaches the Kansas fast pitch softball squads, where he had the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Kayce and Kayla. Kayce, who is now a nurse in Tulsa, played college ball for NEOSU at Miami and later for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks. Kayla is currently following in her sister’s footsteps and playing for the Lady Norse softball team.

The self-effacing coach is quick to share his plaudits with others, saying, “I’ve been really fortunate to have worked for a pair of great superintendents since I’ve been here. You just can’t get any better than Jim Burgess (retired) and Leann Barnwell.”

Odle doesn’t stop at the administrators when he added, “I’m the one that kind of gets all the credit, but everyone knows that it’s a team effort between Phil (his brother) and me. We’ve joked that I should wear the Coach of the Year ring on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. And he would get it Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturdays and every other Sunday.” Incidentally, Phil was named the OCA Assistant Coach of the Year during the same halftime ceremony.

Despite graduating a pair of All-Staters at the end of the past school year, the Lady Comets return a bevy of starters and don’t look to have let up much for the upcoming season. Expect Odle and Company to be back in the hunt, as usual, in the 2010-11 season.