EDMOND — Upon being approved by the school board as Edmond North's new boys basketball coach — its fourth in as many years — Steven Goss' first order of business was to try putting his new players' minds at ease.
The Huskies gathered Tuesday morning to be introduced to another coach pledging long-term loyalty.
“You've heard this speech four times,” Goss told the Huskies' seniors-to-be.
“But I want to promise you guys who are sophomores: You're not going to hear it four times.”
The new coach saw smiles — the first small step in building trust with kids who have heard it all before.
“I know that felt good to hear,” said Edmond North athletic director Tom Snider. “I think they believed him because of the way he said it.”
Who could blame the players for being slow to trust? Last month, Quinn Wooldridge resigned after one 5-18 season at Edmond North.
But Goss' recent experience makes him a seemingly perfect fit for the program. In 2009, he became Haskell's fifth coach in five years.
Last month, in his third season on the job, he took the Haymakers to their first state tournament since 1991.
“The biggest thing is you have to embrace the kids,” Goss said. “You have to show them that you care about them.”
Goss' ability to develop those relationships at Haskell is what made him attractive to Mike Nunley, Edmond's district athletic director.
But Nunley and Snider also stressed to Goss in interviews the importance of his committing to Edmond North long term. Goss will be the sixth coach to lead the Huskies since 2006.