Horn returning for third stint as head coach of Lady Jays

With a talented, but young, group returning next season, Jefferson City High School was looking for someone with experience to be the new girls soccer coach.

Why not look to someone who’s held the job before? In fact, held it twice.

Eddie Horn, the longtime head coach for the Jays who was the first coach in history of the Jefferson City girls program, will return to the Lady Jays’ sideline next spring.

“Third time’s a charm,” Horn quipped.

Horn led the program for nine years after it started in 1991 and returned for the 2002 season as an interim coach.

“We were looking for an experienced coach who didn’t have to learn the ropes,” Jefferson City activities director Mike McGurk said. “And with the talent we have coming back, we feel like we needed somebody with that kind of experience to keep it going.”

Jefferson City advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in program history this season. The Lady Jays had just one senior and one junior in their starting lineup on a squad that finished 17-4-1 and will return a trio of Class 3 all-state selections.

“There are some really nice players out there,” Horn said. “I enjoy working with talented kids and this is a chance to do that.”

Horn stressed this is not another one-year return to the program.

“My plan is to coach the girls program as long as I’m with the boys,” he said. “I always enjoyed coaching the girls. I coach soccer, no matter which team it is.”

Horn decided to leave the girls program the first time in an effort to help develop the game in the area.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m not the dumbest,” he said. “When you look around and see what coach (Pete) Adkins did with football and having a hand in the feeder system and what Dennis Licklider did by continuing to learn as a coach, I figured it was the right time to step away from one of the programs and get to work with the youth feeder systems for both the boys and the girls.

“The success they both had was the model for what we needed for soccer in Jeff City.”

Horn, who continued to coach girls club teams through the years, believes his experience can be an asset to the program

“I’m a lot better coach 25 years into it than I was when I first started,” he said. “Back in year one, egotistically, I wouldn’t have said that. But I’m pretty sure I’ve coached in the neighborhood of 800 games and when you’ve sat through that many, it would be pretty hard not to get better at it.”

In his time in Jefferson City, McGurk has seen that experience pay dividends with the boys program.

“What I like most about Eddie is his ability to mix his schemes to the talent he has,” McGurk said. “He has an ability to adapt to his talent level that is impressive.”

A total of five coaches were interviewed to replace Matt Stacey, who stepped down after six seasons to become an administrator at Lewis and Clark Middle School.

“Matt did a great job,” McGurk said. “He really developed relationships with the kids and got them to play hard all the time.”

Stacey also was an assistant earlier in his career under Horn.

“Matt has the ability to get the best out of his players,” Horn said. “Every time I saw one of his teams, I was impressed with the way those teams were prepared and ready to play.”

Horn will lead the team in its summer camp July 8-11.

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