Jake Love had been a star on Kirtley's football teams the last three seasons, anchoring the 2009 state championship team as a running back and linebacker.
Love was a sprinter and high jumper on the track team, so Kirtley approached him about trying the long jump.
"He has good speed, good explosion,” Kirtley said. "I think he had tried the long jump a time or two before.”
Two weeks later, Love was a Class 2A long jump state champion. He also won a wrestling state championship at 189 pounds last February.
And last month, he was offered a football scholarship and committed to play for Kansas with new head coach Turner Gill.
In all, not a bad year for the 6-foot, 195-pound Love.
"He's one of those guys that makes you look good as a coach,” Kirtley said. "He's humble, doesn't act like a big shot in the locker room. He's fun to coach. He's the type of guy that you don't get very often.”
Love led the state in rushing as a junior with 2,856 yards and 46 touchdowns, averaging 10.