Last Night the Forsyth Panthers defeated Galena 3-0 to move in to a first place tie in the Southwest Central League standings. A victory over Sparta will, now, give the Panthers a share of the SWCL Championship.
The Conference Championship, should it happen, will be the last for Coach Jim Julian as the leader of the Panthers. Julian has accepted the position of head coach of the Springfield Glendale Falcons starting next school year. He played in that program under legendary coaches Mark Stratton and Howard Bell.
Julian has led the Panthers for eight seasons after taking over for Hall of Famer Neal Richardson. Including the fall seasons he has amassed a record of 248-82, according to my numbers. The Panthers, under his leadership, have been consistently state ranked. They have spent many weeks at number one. He has not been afraid to take on all-comers playing a tough schedule year in and year out, including matchups with much bigger schools. Those games with Class 5 schools will now become the norm as he moves into the Ozark Conference with the Falcons. Glendale is in the same district as Branson.
The Panthers still have a makeup game with Sparta and will host their annual Tournament starting Saturday before moving into post-season play. This years District Tournament is scheduled to be played in Clever.
From a personal standpoint I would like to thank Coach Julian. He has been a pleasure to work with and has always done everything he can to promote the game and the kids. A search for his successor has already begun. On another personal note, I would like to suggest that the Forsyth School Board does not have to look very far. The best person for the job, might very well already be on the Panthers bench.
This move does have to be approved by the Springfield School board but is most likely just a formality.