Flave Darnell expects a smooth transition as he takes over the reins of the Webb City High School baseball program.

Darnell was officially named the school’s new head baseball coach after Garry Highfill resigned after three seasons at the helm.

“I’m real excited to be in a head coaching role again,” Darnell said. “And I’m excited to be at Webb City because it has such a winning tradition. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

After previously leading a program in the Central Ozark Conference, Darnell coached Webb City’s freshman team this past spring.

“Any time there’s a transition, there could be a couple of bumps in the road,” Darnell said. “Coach Highfill did a really good job. People have different personalities, and when a new guy comes in, they might want to do some things differently. So there’s a little transition period, but I think it should be a smooth one.”

Webb City will return a solid core from this year’s squad that went 17-12 and captured a district championship, including all-conference selections Treghan Parker, Cole Gayman and Cale McCallister.

Darnell is coaching Webb City’s 18-and-under team this summer.

“We’ll have quite a few guys coming back,” Darnell said. “I didn’t get to see them a lot this past spring because I was with the freshmen, but I’ve been getting to know them this summer and developing relationships. I think it’s a really good group.”

Of course, Flave’s brother Bryce Darnell previously coached at Webb City, winning a pair of state championships (2005, ‘06) before taking over the Missouri Southern baseball program.

Also of note, both Flave and Bryce Darnell have sons set to enter high school in the fall — Kaylor and Cy.

Flave Darnell said he looks forward to one day coaching his son and nephew at the varsity level.

“That will be an exciting time,” he said. “I’ve been watching them play since youth travel ball.”

Darnell spent 19 years coaching baseball at Carl Junction, with 15 as the program’s head coach. Darnell led the Bulldogs to five district titles, two state semifinal appearances (2009, 2010) and a state runner-up finish in ‘09.

“My time at Carl Junction was great, and I have nothing but fond memories there,” Darnell said. “And I hope to do the same at Webb City.”