Spearville High School has a new athletic director, football coach and physical education teacher.
Travis Callaway has been hired, filling the rolls vacated by coach Matt Fowler, who resigned earlier this year and moved to Oswego.
Callaway was the head coach the past two season at Onaga, according to Spearville High School and Middle School Principal Patrick Crowdis. He also spent time at Ashland, and helped out at Kansas Wesleyan while working on his master’s.
He was one of about 15 or 20 applicants for the position, Crowdis said.
“We’ve heard nothing but good things, he’s already been involved with our summer weights program,” Crowdis said. “It’s been a really great hire, so we’re looking forward to working with him.”
Callaway went a combined 3-15 overall in his two seasons at the helm in Onaga, winning his last game against Valley Falls 60-6 in October 2017.
He’ll have huge shoes to fill as head football coach. In nine seasons, Fowler’s teams went 62-32 overall. In his first five seasons, the Lancers went 17-29, but in the last four the team became a state powerhouse in 8 Man D1 football, going 45-3 and winning the 2015 State Championship.
“I honestly can put into words what coach Fowler’s meant to the entire community, not just the football program,” Crowdis said.
He’ll be missed by Crowdis and the community alike, Crowdis said.
“He laid a huge foundation to be built on, and I think even coach Fowler would agree with that, he laid the foundation that could be built on, and we’re very fortunate that he left everything better than we he came in,” Crowdis said.
Callaway was an assistant coach at Ashland from 2012-2015, which helped him become familiar with the area, and he remembers the start of Spearville’s rise.
Callaway acknowledged what Fowler helped lay the foundation of.
“It’s not very often you get a chance as a coach to step into a situation like that in Spearville,” Callaway said.
Off the field, Callaway said he wants to continue a lot of the things that have helped Spearville become such a strong football program, from the way the athletes work to the family atmosphere.
Schematically, however, there will be some changes to how the Lancers play going forward.
“I’m not a single-wing guy,” Callaway said.
He said he hated coaching against the single-wing, and isn’t an expert in it, so his system will be a different one, but with his new scheme he hopes to continue the success the Lancers have had.