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Offseason a revolving door of work for Hornets

The offseason routine of Concordia football and basketball coach Shepherd Skanes sounds similar to that of the Hereford bull referenced in Robert Earl Keen’s “The Front Porch Song.”

“He’s sweatin’ and a pantin’ ‘cause his work is never done.”

The basketball team returned to action on Wednesday at Delta State, but Skanes remained in Selma to handle a laundry list of football duties. With junior college signing day on Jan. 15 and high school signing day a few weeks later, football recruiting tops the to-do list.

“Recruiting is the bloodline to your program,” said Skanes. “Bad recruiting makes you look like a bad football team, and when you look like a bad football team, you look like a bad coach.”

On the heels of the Hornets’ 5-6 finish — highlighted by wins over NAIA powerhouse Bethel and NCAA Division II opponent Miles College — recruiting has gotten a little easier.

“The very first year here, I was out tearing down bushes and shaking every tree trying to tell everybody about Concordia College,” said Skanes. “When people see me now, I am Concordia College. It’s basically my image, my personality and my philosophy that’s recruiting kids to the school.”

Larger schools have the luxury of focusing on recruiting exclusively in the offseason. But Concordia’s small staff and limited resources force the coaches to handle several administrative tasks as well.

As his basketball team traveled to Cleveland, Miss., Skanes focused on scheduling football and basketball games for the 2009-10 season, creating the spring football budget, organizing the winter conditioning agenda, compiling an eligibility report, breaking down film for instructional purposes and compiling highlight films for outgoing NFL hopefuls Ken Johnson and John Halman.

But amidst his administrative and basketball coaching duties, Skanes has to ensure his football program’s stability.

“I start at 5:30 every morning,” said Skanes. “I have worked by butt off to make Concordia College a household name. And now Concordia College is a household name throughout the South.”