WYANDOTTE — Seventeen seasons removed from his last football-coaching job, the fire still burns deep in the belly of Bob Homer.
Homer, who won 124 games over 19 seasons at Miami High School, is back in the business, this time as an assistant to his son, Brad, at Wyandotte High School.
“I got an opportunity to do that and see if I still wanted to be involved because it’s been 16 years since I coached — it’s hard to believe,” Bob Homer said. “Brad said just remember one thing: things are different than what they used to be and they are. I have seen that, but yet again, I have enjoyed it.
“The kids here have been great to me, really respectful. It’s been a blessing; they really are good kids.”
“It’s truly has been a blessing so far,” said Brad Homer, the Bears’ head coach since 2013.
“It’s something I thought about at a young age, wanted to see myself doing that. It took us a long time to get to this point. It’s finally here, so we are going to enjoy it as much as we can and try not to get at each other too much. It’s been so much fun already.”
Bob Homer came to Miami in 1982 from Independence, Kansas, succeeding L.D. Bains.
By the time he stepped down after the 2000 season, 14 of his teams make the playoffs — getting to the semifinals once and quarterfinals five times.
Bob Homer left Miami to become principal at Commerce High School, where he spent four years.
He was athletic director at Parsons, Kansas, for three years, principal at Bartlett (Kansas) Elementary School for two years and Johnson City, Kansas, for seven years.
“The great thing about my dad is the passion is still there, the fire,” said Brad Homer, who played quarterback for his father from 1990 to 1992. “I see it in practice and see it in games. There is still a lot to offer the kids. It’s good for our kids that he is here.
“These kids, and myself included, get to learn something each day. They have really taken to him.”
In a 2005 interview with the News-Record, the elder Homer had three games that really stuck in his mind:
• The Wardogs bumped off No.1-ranked Okmulgee 20-7 in the first round of the 1982 playoffs,
• In 1991, Miami staged a huge second-half rally to beat a Rich Jones-led Broken Bow team. Jones, who on to coach the Wardogs in 2002-03, called the loss the toughest of his career, and
• A 28-21 overtime loss to Tulsa Kelley in the 1984 quarterfinals.
Bob Homer has been helping in the weight room and at practice. He provides an “eye in the sky” on game nights from the press box.
“Being on sideline is electrifying,” said Bob Homer. “I think my age and experience has helped being upstairs. Brad knows what he is doing and they have some good coaches. They have a lot of experience and know what’s going on. But I try to help up there, especially like having enough players on the kicking game; things like that. I am glad I have had that opportunity. I have enjoyed it.”
Bob Homer-coached Wardog teams always were run-oriented, utilizing the split back veer that was the rage at the time.
The Bears are running the spread.
“It (the offensive game) has changed, but there still are the same fundamentals,” he said. “I have learned a lot from the coaches because of what they are running. We ran the football more. They run the spread, but you still have to block and tackle and play defense.”
Wyandotte is 33-15 with Brad Homer at the helm, making the playoffs in three of his four seasons here.
The Bears were 9-2 in 2016 reaching the second round of the Class 2A playoffs where they were dealt a heartbreaking 21-19 loss by Antlers.
Prior to his move to Wyandotte, Brad Homer spent five seasons at Quapaw.
The Bears’ Oct. 6 game at Adair provided a unique situation for Bob Homer: two of his former players were coaching against one other.
Former Wardog Rob Gilstrap, a starting cornerback on MHS’ 1989 semifinal team that lost to Midwest City Carl Albert, is in his first season as the Warriors’ head coach.
“It was good to see him,” Bob Homer said. “Obviously he is doing a good job there. They have several kids that are pretty good.”
“God has a plan obviously,” Brad Homer said. “We are here at this point, something we didn’t ever think we would get to. We are going to enjoy it.”