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Formative years learning from Clever coaches served Republic's Flood well


It’s no coincidence renowned Republic coach Kris Flood has one of his former coaches from Clever, Kent Hedgepeth, on his staff as an assistant.

Hedgepeth was Flood’s junior high coach in the mid-1980s and played a role in Flood choosing to pursue the coaching profession.

“I considered him a strong mentor,” said Flood, a 1989 Clever grad. “I had a lot of conversations with him about coaching when I got into college and I kept trending that way.

“I tried some other fields, but kept finding myself going back to coaching,” he added. “I'm glad I did. It's worked out well for myself and my family.”

Flood’s career at Republic got started thanks to Greg Garton, who along with Steve Ketchum, coached Flood in high school at Clever. Garton went on to coach at Republic and serve as AD for the Tigers. He offered Flood the chance to get his coaching career started even while Flood was a junior at Missouri State.

“He called me and asked if I’d like to do emergency coaching for their seventh and eighth grade team,” Flood said. “I did that a couple years and when I graduated the middle school P.E. job came open in 1995. I made the transition to the high school girls assistants job for three years and then the head coach's job came open.”

Flood has been with the Lady Tigers ever since, enjoying a decorated career leading one of SWMO’s premier programs. He reached the 500-win milestone a year ago.

This season, Flood has done one of his best jobs, leading Republic to an undefeated run through the COC and a 22-4 record entering tonight’s Class 6 District 5 semifinal against Nixa.

“To get to stay with one district up to this point has been amazing,” Flood said. “Not having to worry about going to a different district and adjusting, I've been blessed to have that opportunity.”

Flood and Ozark AD Yancey Little have been best friends dating back to their days growing up together in Clever. They were teammates in baseball and basketball for the Jays and later were the best man at each other’s wedding.

Little thinks Republic’s consistent winning ways is a direct reflection of Flood.

He’s been there in times when they’ve had really good players and when they had average players. His expectations and goals for each season have never changed," Little said. "That’s how Kris is, he stays consistent. There are certain things he does today that he ran way back when. He’s also evolved with his teams.” 

Little thinks the fact that both he and Flood went on to be coaches had much to do with their Clever background. 

“We had good role models in the coaching world,” Little said. “We learned how to compete and lead by example.”

During the seven years Little has been Ozark’s AD, Ozark’s girls basketball job has come open. But Little and Flood never talked about the possibility of Flood joining Little at Ozark.

“We've always had a connection and keep that connection up,” Flood said. “We go golfing together and we've got kids who are similar ages and they like to hang out. 

“We never crossed paths as far as (working together) goes,” he added. “I feel like we both have ended up at good spots.”

“He bleeds orange and black,” Little said. “He’s got a good relationship with the community (at Republic). He’s been able to get girls to want to be Republic Lady Tigers.”