OTTUMWA – Andy Maw, who has been served as the president of the Ottumwa Soccer club growing the sport locally on the youth level, is set to take over the reins as the head coach of the Ottumwa High School boys soccer team.
The appointment was part of the personnel report that required approval from the Ottumwa Community school board on Monday night. The second extracurricular appointment included Olivia Roark returning to the coaching staff of the Ottumwa High School softball team as an assistant coach under former OHS teammate Mandi Moore, who was officially named as the second head coach in the history of the Bulldog softball program replacing Frank Huston back in October.
Maw is replacing Brett McKenzie, who stepped down as head coach after five seasons to pursue a teaching opportunity at Excelsior Springs High School in Missouri. Counting two years spent as Ottumwa head girls soccer coach, McKenzie has spent seven years coaching “the beautiful game” to OHS high school student athletes with a variety of different skill levels.
McKenzie finished with a record of 50-37 as head coach of the Ottumwa boys soccer team. The Bulldogs got within one win of the Class 3A state tournament for the first time in program history during a 13-6 second in 2018 under McKenzie.
“It’s something that I’ve truly enjoyed. It’s been as much a learning experience for me as it was for the players,” said McKenzie. “I saw a lot of talented players come through and a lot of good kids that just needed a chance. They just needed some motivation in the classroom and on the field.”
Maw has plenty of experience providing motivation to young soccer players. The Ottumwa Soccer Club has grown to routinely draw more than 100 participants to take part in soccer during both the fall and spring.
“We tried to be more organized as a club and get our name out there,” Maw said of the Ottumwa Soccer Club’s growth. “Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in terms of popularity. What I like about soccer is it’s such a simple concept: You put a ball in a goal. Your average-build person can do it.”
Roark, meanwhile, returns as an assistant softball coach after being part of an emotional and historic season last summer with the Bulldogs. Ottumwa returned the state tournament for the 28th time in program history, ending with a 4-1 consolation-round loss to Indianola that was followed by the emotional announcement by Huston to his players that he would be retiring after 53 seasons as a head coach including all 46 seasons starting and building the OHS softball program.
“He’s been a part of my softball career for so long. He’s taught me so much about the game as a player and as a coach,” Roark said of Huston. “He’s been such a great mentor. I can’t imagine in being involved in another program. He’s coached my mom (Missy Cason-Roark) and he’s coached me. It’s amazing that he’s been around that long.
“You don’t want him to go because he’s been so successful. You don’t want it to end because it’s been so great to have him as part of the sport over the years. You just wish it could continue.”
As part of the personnel report, Matt Mishler will also be stepping down as an assistant football coach at Ottumwa High School. Mishler will also not be returning as an assistant softball coach for the Bulldogs this summer.