The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

May 26, 2012

Cleo Elbert steps down at Thomas Jefferson

Cleo Elbert decided 35 seasons as a varsity basketball coach at the high school level are enough.

Bill Carter, development director at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, made the announcement on Saturday.

Elbert, completing his 12th season at Thomas Jefferson and 11th as the boys basketball coach, has stepped down and has been replaced by Chris Myers.

The 2012-13 school year will be Myers’ sixth at Thomas Jefferson. He’ll continue as the athletic director, dean of boys and, currently, boys golf coach.

Elbert will replace Myers as the middle school boys basketball coach.

“It’s more of a teaching load (physical education) and less of a coaching load,” Elbert said.

“It’s time to slow down a bit,” Elbert said. “I’m 63. I’m still active, though, and I still feel pretty young.

“You never know (about tackling a head coaching position),” Elbert said. “I’ll play it by ear.

“We can spend more time with the grandchildren,” Elbert said. “Patricia and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with a district championship (this past season).”

The Class 1 Cavaliers played for a district title six times and won four.

Elbert, a graduate of Pierce City High School and Missouri State, amassed a 610-317 record in those 35 seasons (including 19 with the Monett girls and five with the East Newton boys).

Carter said that Myers was in line to replace Elbert, who coached Monett to a third and two fourths at state, once he decided to relinquish varsity duty.

“Definitely, it’s a good move for my career,” Myers said. “I wanted to get back into coaching the varsity. I’m very excited.

“We graduated several seniors,” Myers said. “But we return two starters and coming in will be a good group of freshmen.”

Myers, 32, is a graduate of Monett High School — he played baseball, basketball and football for the Cubs — and attended Pittsburg State for football one year before transferring to Missouri Southern. His coaching experience also includes stints at McAuley Catholic and Sedalia Smith-Cotton.

Myers, who was the boys basketball coach at McAuley for two seasons (15-10, 20-8), also guided the Thomas Jefferson girls for two years.

Myers is married to the former Kerri Murphy of Nevada (who played tennis at Southern). They have two sons — Caden, 8, and Karsen, 4.

Myers’ duties as an athletic director are far from finished before next fall.

“We’re in the process of hiring a head soccer coach (C.I. Shelton stepped down after a year) and a boys basketball assistant (Tom Brumfield stepped down with Elbert but will remain in tennis).

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