Dees re­turns

For­mer Pan­thers coach bring­ing Re­gent Prep team to tour­ney

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­[email protected]

A fa­mil­iar face will re­turn to Siloam Springs High School this week for the ninth an­nual Siloam Springs Hol­i­day Clas­sic.

For­mer Siloam Springs boys basketball coach and ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Ker­win Dees will be back in the Pan­ther Ac­tiv­ity Cen­ter, the arena he helped de­sign. But this time it’s as head coach and ath­let­ics di­rec­tor of Re­gent Prep (Okla.), one of the eight teams par­tic­i­pat­ing in the boys bracket.

“I am ex­cited to be back in Siloam for the tour­na­ment,” Dees said. “It will be great to see fam­ily and friends in Siloam and to bring our Re­gent team to see such a great gym and school that we all were blessed to work on to­gether.”

The Siloam Springs Hol­i­day Clas­sic, which was started un­der Dees’ lead­er­ship in 2010, will be a mini re­union of sorts for the for­mer Pan­thers coach, who was head boys coach at Siloam Springs from 2000 to 2005 and ath­let­ics di­rec­tor from 2005 to the sum­mer of 2012. He re­signed in 2012 to take an ath­let­ics di­rec­tor job at Lex­ing­ton (Ky.) Chris­tian Academy.

Dees later re­turned to coach­ing at Re­gent Prep and is in his fourth sea­son with the Rams with a record of 73-40. Over­all he has 436 ca­reer vic­to­ries, which in­cludes a head coach­ing stint at Prairie Grove (1977-1983), which is an­other school par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tour­na­ment.

“I have such a rich his­tory at Siloam and in Prairie Grove, my home­town,” Dees said.

Re­gent Prep went 20-8 last year and has been to the Ok­la­homa Class A State Tour­na­ment two of the last three years.

The Rams got a late start to their 2018-19 sea­son be­cause their foot­ball team played in the state fi­nals.

Re­gent Prep is one of three Ok­la­homa teams in the tour­na­ment, which be­gins at 11:30 a.m. Thurs­day morn­ing with Rogers

I am ex­cited to be back in Siloam for the tour­na­ment. It will be great to see fam­ily and friends in Siloam and to bring our Re­gent team to see such a great gym and school that we all were blessed to work on to­gether. Ker­win Dees Re­gent Prep head basketball coach and ath­let­ics di­rec­tor

tak­ing on Siloam Springs’ ju­nior var­sity.

Re­gent Prep will play Spring­dale at 1 p.m., fol­lowed by Coweta, Okla., ver­sus Prairie Grove at 4 p.m. and the night­cap with Siloam Springs host­ing Clare­more, Okla.

Dees said by the time the Siloam Springs Hol­i­day Clas­sic rolls around, the Rams will only have had seven full prac­tices and played three games.

“To play Spring­dale, one of the largest and most ath­letic 6A schools in Arkansas in the first round of the Siloam tour­na­ment with only seven prac­tices will be quite a chal­lenge,” Dees said. “Our sea­son goal is to be bat­tletested and to im­prove dur­ing the year so that we can be very tough at play­off time, at the end of the year.”

Cur­rent Siloam Springs boys basketball coach Tim Ste­wart, who was hired un­der Dees’ ad­min­is­tra­tion, said he’s ex­cited to have the for­mer coach re­turn.

“We’re ex­cited to have Re­gent Prep com­ing to our hol­i­day tour­na­ment this year,” Ste­wart said. “Not only be­cause they’re a qual­ity team but also be­cause it will be the re­turn of Ker­win Dees, who played such an im­por­tant role here at this school for many years. Coach Dees is a fan­tas­tic basketball mind and has made a huge im­pact on all of us here at SSHS.

“With 6A Rogers and Spring­dale com­ing to the tour­na­ment along with Ok­la­homa’s Coweta and Clare­more high schools

there’s no short­age of fire-power in this year’s field.”

Dees also ac­knowl­edged that it will be good to see for­mer friends who helped him through a dif­fi­cult time sev­eral years ago when his first wife Vicki Dees died in March 2011.

“I will never for­get the kind­ness and help to me from the en­tire com­mu­nity, Mr. (Ken) Ramey and the school staff, and my Sager Creek church fam­ily when our fam­ily was in a can­cer jour­ney with Vicki, my late wife,” Dees said. “The peo­ple of Siloam have a spe­cial place in my heart.”

Girls

The girls bracket will fea­ture a five-team field af­ter a cou­ple of teams dropped out late, ac­cord­ing to Siloam Springs head girls coach Tim Rippy.

Rogers and Coweta will play at 2:30 p.m. Thurs­day, fol­lowed by Siloam Springs (2-8) and Prairie Grove at 5:30 p.m.

The win­ner of Siloam Springs and Prairie Grove will take on Spring­dale at 5:30 p.m. on Fri­day.

Though short on teams, Rippy said the tour­na­ment field is very com­pet­i­tive.

Spring­dale fea­tures 6-foot-1 Arkansas signee Mar­que­sha Davis, while Rogers and Prairie Grove have al­ready de­feated Siloam Springs ear­lier this sea­son.

“It may be one of the strong­est fields we’ve had in the last four years,” Rippy said. “Coweta, they’re ranked sec­ond in Ok­la­homa class 5A, ev­ery­one back, very good team. Rogers is play­ing ex­tremely well. Spring­dale they’re tough, they’ve got a Lady Ra­zor­back, and then Prairie Grove. The field is strong even though it’s small.”

File Pho­to­graph/Ben­ton County Daily Record

For­mer Siloam Springs head boys basketball coach and ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Ker­win Dees re­turns to town this week as head coach/AD of Re­gent Prep (Okla.) for the Siloam Springs Hol­i­day Clas­sic, which be­gins Thurs­day at Siloam Springs High School.

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