Flinthills' Kent Harms leaves lasting legacy for Mustangs

Lionel Tipton

LEON, Kansas—Chase County’s run-rule 12-0 softball victory Monday over Flinthills brought the curtain down on a longtime coaching career that included success in two sports.

Mustangs softball coach Kent Harms, who has been associated with the program since its inception in 2001, reaffirmed his decision to step away from coaching as well as teaching math at Flinthills, where he taught for 24 years.

Along with his teaching schedule, Harms also has been Flinthills volleyball coach for the same amount of time. 

He said it wasn’t the way he preferred to go out, but took it in stride. He was unsure of how many softball victories he has, but he has had more success in volleyball.

“In volleyball, we’ve got a little more over 600 now,” he said.

One thing remains certain: Harms is leaving some big shoes to fill in both sports. Baseball assistant coach Trevor Kemp will take over the softball duties, and Harms’ volleyball assistant, Crystal Ratcliff, replaces him in that sport.

Harms, soft-spoken and unassuming to the end, graciously accepted his legacy.

“I’ve had a very successful run with 24 years in volleyball and in softball – can’t quite remember how many – but the school has treated me well,” he said. “The girls have worked hard, so I’m very proud of them.”

Chase County senior Audrey Tubach mowed down the Mustangs (6-13), allowing just singles to Jessie Mooney and Whitney Mantanona in five innings. The only other baserunner she allowed was on because of an error. Tubach struck out 12 – including eighth of the first nine hitters – and didn’t walk anyone.

Harms said he knew Chase County was a formidable opponent.

“They’ve won state three times in the last 10 years,” he said. “They’re solid.”

He said his initial plans are not to worry about teaching or coaching as he heads into retirement.

“Right now, I’m just going to get away, relax, and not do anything for a while,” Harms said. 

That will likely include spending time with his six grandchildren, he said.

Harms said one of his finest moments with Flinthills softball came in the mid-2000s. 

“Our biggest win was when Deedra Baker was pitching for us,” he said. “It was (his daughter) Melissa’s (a pitcher on that team) senior year, in the regionals at Udall.

“Oxford was undefeated at the time, and we beat them in the semifinals. That was, by far, our biggest win.”

He said it was also special to be able to coach his daughter.

“Melissa, she was a workhorse for me,” Harms said. 

Similarly, freshman Sydney Sorum has logged a lot of innings this year, Harms said.

In volleyball, Harms said an enduring memory was going to state for the first time in 2001.

“We went (to state) six times in the 24 years,” he said. “I had a lot of good players and a lot of good teams go through there. 

“I think the girls, if you grow up at Flinthills, you grow up to be a volleyball player. I think they think they’re all going to be volleyball players, which is really good because it builds a tradition.”

He said he might be taking some time away from the grandkids to follow the teams.

“They’ll always be a part of me,” he said. “(But) I’ll chase them (the grandkids) first.”