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Dierkes named Vandalia boys track coach

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – A former state qualifer who has found success in his brief coaching career has been named the new head coach of Vandalia’s boy’s track team.

Jim Dierkes, a 2008 graduate of Greenville High School who began teaching art in the Vandalia district last school year, was approved by the school board last week to replace Jane Bell, who resigned in December, and said he is excited about the opportunity.

“I had a lot of fun with it last year,” said Dierkes, who was Bell’s assistant coach last season. “I love that time of the year and that sport, so it was a no-brainer for me.”

Dierkes was a state qualifer in the discus throw his senior year, advancing with a throw of 139 feet, 6 inches, but nerves at the state meet got the best of him, and he threw only 113 feet, 11 inches in the prelims.

As an eighth-grader, he qualified for state in both the shot put and the discus throw. He placed eighth in the discus finals.

That athletic success – which also included stints with his high school football and basketball teams – combined with his fun-loving but serious coaching demeanor and attention to detail should breed success for the Vandals.

“I’ve learned a lot by going to some clinics,” Dierkes said. “I’ve learned a lot about the form of throwing that I wish I would have known in high school, so I think we can teach these guys.”

In addition to his role as assistant track coach, Dierkes serves as the assistant girls basketball coach, and has helped the junior varsity team to a near-.500 record this season.