By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Southeast High School athletics director and head football coach Clint Rider is leaving to take over the Hesston (Kan.) Swathers football program.
Rider made the announcement to his players Tuesday morning.
“That was the hardest part, and I knew it would be,” Rider said. “I care very deeply about those kids, and I think they care about me as well. It was tough to let them know that I would be moving on.”
Rider is a 2005 graduate of Southeast and coached the Lancers for five seasons, including as head coach the past two seasons. He directed the Lancers to a 6-3 record this past fall.
“I’ve been in this school district since I was 4 years old,” Rider said. “I started helping coach after my first couple years of college. I’ve never been involved with any other school district.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being here. I’ve had great relationships with students and teachers. It will be very difficult to take that next step. I’m very fond of this place, and there always will be a place in my heart for that Lancer pride.”
Rider said several factors led to his decision to take the job in Hesston.
The town will be much closer to family of Rider’s fiancee, Michelle Hodges. He also will be reunited with former Southeast administrator Ben Proctor, who is the principal at Hesston Middle School.
“And the football program is an attractive job,” Rider said. “They haven’t had a losing season in eight years.”
The Swathers finished 5-5 this past season, falling to Holton in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Rider’s departure from Southeast will mean the end of the annual “Rider Cup” game between Southeast and Riverton, which is coached by Clint’s older brother Derrick. Riverton won in 2011, and Southeast won 48-22 this past season.
“It’s kind of fitting that it was 1-1 and it ends that way,” Rider said. “Honestly, it’s kind of a relief that we don’t have to play each other anymore to decide who is going to make the playoffs. I won’t miss that week.”