Pete Papahronis had just about as good of a job as he could've hoped for.
In nine years as the boys basketball coach at Guthrie, Papahronis had led the Bluejays to five state tournaments. Twice, in 2008 and 2009, Guthrie had won titles under Papahronis.
Last year, his team made the semifinals and returned the core of that team for this season.
But when Guthrie girls coach Terry Carris resigned following an 8-15 season, Papahronis decided it was time for him to try to make a move as well.
He had two young daughters — he now has three — and wanted to coach them when they reached high school.
So although his daughters were quite a ways away — the oldest is in fourth grade this year — he asked to move to coach Guthrie's girls.
“I knew if I was coaching boys when they were playing, I'd never get to see them,” Papahronis said. “And I didn't want that.
“When Coach Carris resigned, I thought to myself, ‘I like the town, I like the school, I like the people and this may be my opportunity to stay.”
Papahronis didn't want to take a chance that the job wouldn't come back open before his daughters reached Guthrie High.
Guthrie administrators weren't sure what to think when Papahronis approached them with the idea.
“People thought I was crazy,” he said. “I went and talked to the athletic director and his reaction was, ‘Are you kidding me? Are you nuts?'”
Given some time to mull it over, though, Papahronis decided the time was right.
He talked to Putnam City coach A.D. Burtschi, who had been his high school coach.
Papahronis also sought out several other coaches who had made the transition from coaching boys to coaching girls.
“They said, ‘Come back to me in a year and you'll see you enjoy working with the girls more,'” Papahronis said.
The jury is still out, but Papahronis is liking it so far.
“To be honest, it's not a whole lot different,” Papahronis said. “They're not quite as fast and they don't jump as high but the intensity level is the same.”
Papahronis also thinks Guthrie has a chance to be pretty good, both in the short and the long term.
The Bluejays have had some setbacks in the first regard. One senior decided not to play this year while another, Paige Stevenson, suffered a broken leg in a scrimmage and will miss the season.
Point guard Melinda Murillo will be the team's lone senior.
“She's the hardest worker every day in practice,” Papahronis said.
In the long term, Papahronis is happy with the talent that's coming this way.
Three freshmen figure to see significant playing time this season. Two of those could potentially start.
“It's probably the best freshman class we've had come up in some time,” Papahronis said. “We're going to be young but hopefully we'll keep getting better.
“I'm not expecting to work miracles here but as long as we keep making progress, I'll be happy.”