CEDAR RAPIDS — Matt Jenkins had endorsements.
That of his predecessor. That of his players.
That was enough.
Jenkins was hired Monday as boys’ basketball coach at Cedar Rapids Xavier.
“A lot of the kids came into my office on his behalf,” said Mike Winker, Xavier athletics director. “That was very comforting.”
And, for Jenkins, humbling.
“You don’t know how much you mean to kids until the starting showing it,” Jenkins said. “And that meant a lot. I met with the kids earlier today, they seemed to be excited and ready to get to work.”
Jenkins, 27, served last year as assistant sophomore coach. He succeeds Joe Barrer, who left in April to take the boys’ basketball job at Davenport Assumption, his alma mater.
“When Joe got the job last year, he recommended Matt to coach in our system,” Winker said. “One big asset, and one thing I was looking for, is continuity. Matt will run a lot of the same things, but he’ll have his own ideas too.”
Jenkins, who serves as the leader of the guided study program at Xavier, will be the Saints’ fourth head varsity coach in four seasons. Dick Breitbach retired after the 2006-07 season, then Adam Loria was there for a year before leaving for Iowa City High.
Barrer coached the Saints to an 8-15 record last season.
“With the team coming back, we’re not as big as other teams, so we’ll have to get out and run quite a bit,” Jenkins said. “I’m very much into motion offense and getting guys to move without the ball.”
Jenkins is a 2000 graduate of Davenport Assumption. He played on the Knights’ state-title teams in 1999 and 2000. He played at Indian Hills Community College, then Nebraska-Kearney.
He is one of three coaches announced Monday by the school. Barb Brunow was hired as the varsity volleyball coach, Kasi Kiner the girls’ swimming coach.