To fill a coaching void that was left vacant all of last season, Jeff Myers is turning to a trusted, former longtime assistant coach.
Stuart Purintun is returning to Kingfisher, a place he roamed the football sidelines and served in various other capacities inside the school district for 10 years.
Purintun was approved at Monday night’s board of education meeting to become a special education teacher and an assistant high school football coach.
“We’re excited to have Stuart back,” said Myers. “We had a lot of success here during his first tenure and look forward to more with him back on the sidelines.
“We’re also happy to be able to fill a position we had to do without last season.”
The KHS coaching staff was left a man short when Blake Eaton resigned just before the school year began for a position outside of education. With limited options to hire someone at the position, Myers and the Kingfisher administration opted to work through it last year.
Purintun will take that spot next season.
He previously taught and coached here from the 2005-06 school year until 2014-15. He resigned to return to Weatherford. That’s where he and his wife, Stacey, graduated high school.
However, Kingfisher had a stronger pull than perhaps either of them realized. It was, after all, the longtime home of their daughters Sydney and Kamryn, who are now 15 and 12 years old, respectively.
“It’s where our family wants to be,” Purintun said of returning to Kingfisher.
“We miss the community and the friends we have in Kingfisher. Although Weatherford is Stacey and my hometown, Kingfisher is our home.”
Purintun isn’t the only new hire making a return to the district.
The board also approved hiring Jackie Sternberger back into the fold.
She will teach middle school geography while also serving as the head coach for junior high girls softball, basketball and track.
Sternberger, the wife of Superintendent Jason Sternberger, taught and coached at KPS from 2011-12 through the end of the 2016 school year.
She’s taught outside the district, including this year at Summit Middle School in Edmond.
The board also moved to fill out the staff of new girls basketball coach Gerrett Spears, who was hired at the April meeting.
Jennifer Pralle was approved as the head ninth grade coach and high school assistant. She’ll also be a teacher’s assistant.
Like Spears, Pralle graduated from Garber High School.
She went on to play basketball at Cowley County Community College before a knee injury cut short her basketball career.
Pralle finished up her education at Oklahoma State University and served under Spears at Enid last year in the same capacities she’ll hold down at Kingfisher.
“She ended up helping a ton last year,” Spears said. “She works really hard and I was very thankful she was able to come to Kingfisher.”
Not long after the two-hour board meeting ended, Pralle made her own announcement on Facebook.
“I am really excited to get to Kingfisher, work with the players and be a part of a special community,” she wrote.