Independent football focused under new coach Tyler Keim

By Joanna Chadwick

After spending one season as an assistant football coach, Independent’s Tyler Keim wasn’t planning on becoming the head coach.

“I was more like the quality control guy last year,” Keim said.

But when the position opened unexpectedly last month, Keim took the job.

“It’s a little overwhelming because obviously, I haven’t been a football coach,” said Keim, in his fourth year as the boys basketball coach. “But at the same time, I’ve been doing some homework on football.

“There’s a couple coaches around the area that I’ve been able to lean on. It’s a lot like the basketball community for a new guy to lean on and step into this role.

“I enjoy working with kids.”

Keim hired Eric Swenson, a longtime Independent staff member, who had previously been an assistant football coach.

Also stepping in to help has been Jordan Echer, who stepped down as the Independent coach and is an assistant at Douglass, and Rashad Daniels, now the Wichita Northwest strength and conditioning coach. There’s also former Wichita-area players Cody McNerny and Ethan Stuhlsatz, who played for Keim when he coached them as part of the Wichita Padres, an offseason basketball program.

“The relationships I’ve built over the years are helping me now,” Keim said.

But balancing football and basketball workouts has been interesting.

Since Independent is a Class 2A school, Keim has a lot of multi-sport athletes.

“It’s so much on the kids,” he said.

When the basketball team played in Arkansas City as part of the Cowley College tournament on June 12-13, football only lifted weights.

But this week has been focused on football.

“I need to make sure football is getting what they need,” Keim said. “We’re doing a lot of fundamental stuff; that’s what I think we lacked.

“… This is my fourth year at Independent. They know what I want to do, that I want to win, that I want to teach the game and just get better and be better from when you started at the school to when you leave the school.”

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