There’s never a time, really, when Randy Jordan isn’t the police chief in North Newton.
And coaching the Newton High girls basketball team eats up a good chunk of the day’s 24 hours, too.
But Jordan, 58, isn’t interested yet in removing either of his hats, different as they are.
“I’m doing two things I love doing so I’m pretty fortunate,” Jordan said. “When I have a chance to talk with organizations or clubs, I tell them I’m really blessed. Every morning I love going to work and doing what I do as police chief. And coaching is a big part of life, too.”
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Jordan said he’s often asked about when he might step away from coaching. Obviously, those people haven’t seen his roster.
It’s filled with young, tall girls who have helped the Railers win 10 straight games to improve to 17-5 as they head into Class 5A tournament play Thursday night against defending- champion Leavenworth in Topeka.
“I haven’t quite figured out why we started slowly this year,” Jordan said. “I’ve thought about it a lot and talked with my assistants about it. I think the girls just decided they were better than what they were playing.”
Simple enough for a coach who likes to keep things simple.
Jordan used to fret about the wins and losses, he said, but has long since decided to focus more on preparation.
“Do I have the girls ready to play?” he said. “Are they ready for the things they’re going to see? I concern myself way more with things like that than I do about winning or losing.”
Jordan grew up in WaKeeney, where he played basketball for Roger Barta, who went on to have a legendary football coaching career at Smith Center.
After graduating from McPherson College, Jordan went to work as a salesman for a materials distribution center in Newton. But he didn’t stay long because he knew there were other things he was more passionate about doing.
His brother, Gary, is a longtime police officer in Wichita. Randy got on with the Newton police department in 1990, working 23 years before retiring in 2013. He took a short respite before becoming the chief of police in North Newton, where he expected more calm.
“That’s what I was hoping,” he said. “But it’s turned out to be more hectic than I thought.”
Jordan’s department was involved in the tragic shootings in Hesston on Feb. 25, just a few miles from North Newton.
“We were actually in basketball practice when it happened,” Jordan said. “The girls came out of the locker room and said they weren’t allowed to leave, that there had been a shooting. I usually have my phone with me, but that particular day I left my phone in my truck in the parking lot.”
Two of Jordan’s North Newton officers responded to the shooting, he said. He made sure his players were safe.
Jordan got involved in coaching basketball by helping his son and daughter learn the game. He coached football for a short time at Moundridge before getting involved with basketball at Goessel, then at Newton. He coached the ninth-grade boys team, then was an assistant for the high school girls team before getting the head-coaching job.
Newton is playing in its eighth state tournament during Jordan’s 13 seasons and won a championship in 2006.
This season’s team is led by, well, pretty much everybody. Balance in every facet carries the Railers, Jordan said, although moving 5-foot-11 freshman guard DesiRay Kernal into the starting lineup midway through the season seems to have provided a spark.
“That’s when we really started our run,” he said. “What I’ve learned with Desi is that the longer she’s on the court, the more comfortable she gets. She needs to be out there a lot to really get into the flow of the game.”
Peyton Roberts-Parker is Newton’s only senior and had 29 points in a win over Kapaun Mount Carmel earlier.
“She’s 6-foot and posts up hard,” Jordan said.
Taylor Antonowich is a 5-11 sophomore and the Railers’ best defender.
“She’s really athletic and guards really hard,” Jordan said. “And she’s an amazing competitor. Her motor goes 100 mph and she never lets up. It’s been really good for our team to see how hard she guards.”
Sophomore Kendal Bacon is Newton’s point guard and 6-3 junior Abby Schmidt plays in the post.
“And we come off the bench with two more sophomores and a junior,” Jordan said.
Starting to understand why he doesn’t want to give up coaching?
“Our balanced scoring is one of the things that has really helped us,” Jordan said. “You can’t just guard us inside because we’ve improved our shooting from the outside. We have so much size inside and a lot of teams tried to take that away from us. So we spent a lot of time shooting in practice and now we’re getting more confident.”
Policing and coaching have their similarities, I suppose. Keeping order and such.
“I enjoy serving people,” Jordan said. “And I enjoy just being around people.”
I wouldn’t expect him to stop doing either of his jobs soon.