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Ozark hires former Kickapoo assistant as Tigers' new head basketball coach


For the second time in 12 years, Ozark has named a head boys basketball coach whose experience consists solely as an assistant.

New Tigers coach Jayme Donnelly comes to the Tigers with a very similar resume as Mark Schweitzer when Schweitzer was promoted from Ozark assistant to head coach in 2013.

Donnelly has been an assistant for 11 seasons at Kickapoo and Willard. Schweitzer had been an assistant at Ozark for eight years and an assistant at Hollister for one year.

Similarly, Nixa promoted Brock Blansit to head coach two years ago, after he had been assistant for the Eagles 19 seasons, in addition to being an assistant at Strafford three seasons and at Forsyth one season.

Also, like Blansit, Donnelly played college ball at Evangel.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead such an established basketball program here in southwest Missouri,” Donnelly said in a statement released by Ozark. “I cannot wait to get started and be part of the Ozark community!”

Since 2017, Donnelly served as Kickapoo's assistant while the Chiefs claimed four District titles, six Ozark Conference championships, three Final Four berths and a Class 6 State championship in 2021. 

Kickapoo has beaten Ozark in each of their last six meetings.

“He‘s been a part of arguably one of the best programs in southwest Missouri for the last eight seasons and has worked under some amazing coaches,” Ozark AD Yancey Little said. “He’s had tremendous success with his jayvee teams and I think he will do great things with our boys basketball program.” 

Donnelly spent two seasons at Willard as its jayvee coach.

Donnelly played as a prep at Linn. 

Ozark is coming off back-to-back losing seasons, but has had just three losing seasons over the past 16 years. The Tigers' most recent District championship came in 2020 and their last 20-win season came in 2022.