With Jeremy Cordell living in the greater Chicago area, Ozark athletics director and ardent Cardinals fan Yancey Little got straight to the point when talking to him about the Tigers' head football coach's job.
"The first time I ever talked to Yancey, he said to me, 'The first thing I'm going to ask you is are you a Cubs fan?'" Cordell said. "I told him the truth, that I had been a Cubs fan my whole life growing up, but that I fell off the bandwagon before they won the World Series (in 2016). I had been through so many disappointments with them. I couldn't keep having my heart broken. I couldn't jump back on (the bandwagon). I've stayed pretty neutral.
"I'm a huge (Chicago) Bears fan and, of course, they've had their struggles," he added. "But I love the Bears."
With that strong point of consideration settled and all joking aside, Cordell went on to become Little's choice to assume the Tigers' vacancy. A hiring committee made up of other administrators and coaches also endorsed Cordell.
The Ozark School Board approved the hiring of Cordell on Thursday.
Cordell already counts LIttle as a friend and is looking forward to building a working relationship with him.
"We hit it off very well," Cordell said. "I felt like we had a connection. He's a worker and I'm a worker."
Little worked the phone lines tracking down Cordell's references. The common theme he heard was if Ozark had a chance to hire him, the Tigers should do just that.
Little is proud of the hire and confident Cordell will make Ozark a winner.
“Coach Cordell has the knowledge and ability to support and enhance the foundation of our football program which will help to take Ozark to the next level,” Little said. “His vision and expectations are in line with what Ozark Schools and the community pride ourselves on.”
Cordell also was impressed with other Ozark personnel he met during his interview process.
"I toured the building and saw everything in motion. I met some assistants, head coaches, administrators and teachers," he said "Everybody was super kind. My vision is definitely aligned with the District."
From now until the end of the school year, Cordell plans to make trips from Chicago to Ozark when possible.
"I will be in transition," he said. "I'll be down there to meet with the players and get a staff together. I'll be there as much as I can.”
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