HANNIBAL – Quentin Hamner is starting to settle in.
The first-year Hannibal football coach opened his first preseason camp with the Pirates this week at Porter Stadium, which is the unofficial kickoff to the new season. Hamner was hired in February to be Hannibal’s first head football coach after the Mark St. Clair era, which lasted 22 seasons.
"This is the beginning of a new journey," Hamner said. "It’s August 1, and you have a sense of where you want to be. You kind of feel like the program is yours now after the transition with Mark."
A week earlier, the volleyball program opened its preseason camp in Korf Gymnasium under first-year coach Megan Phillips. She replaces Kelsey Whitley, who had five successful seasons guiding the Pirates.
"The girls get to see my coaching style, and I get to see where they’re at," Phillips said. "We have 19 practices before our first game, so we have time."
Both new Hannibal coaches are eager to get their seasons underway.
Practices officially start August 12, and the football team opens August 30 on the road at Jefferson City Helias. Volleyball opens its season Sept. 10 against Payson Seymour.
Both teams participated in summer camps throughout the summer, which helped the new coaches get sneak peeks of what to expect in the fall. That’s made them even more eager to get going.
"The biggest thing is we were just changing up our terminology on offense and defense," Hamner said. "We really want to platoon guys so they’re not playing on both sides of the ball as much as possible. We had some good practices this week, and I really thought Tuesday evening was our best showing."
Hamner especially is eager to face the challenges of succeeding St. Clair, who 185 games in 22 seasons with Hannibal.
"It’s just the expectations with Hannibal football," Hamner said. "There’s a lot, and not just here but in Missouri. I really enjoy the process and seeing our kids just getting better."
Phillips inherits a program that has dominated North Central Missouri Conference play the last three years, but she wants to take the program a step farther.
The preseason camps are those first steps to that.
"A lot of these girls have played together a long time," Phillips said. "We’ve talked about the goals, and getting through districts would be a huge accomplishment."