Sometimes a deal is just too good to pass up.

That certainly describes the way Norman North girls basketball coach Ron Anderson sees his chance to join former Oklahoma assistant Bo Overton’s staff at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The would-be second-year Timberwolves coach agreed to take the position late Friday and will leave North to get back into college coaching.

“Bo and I go way back,” Anderson said. “We played in high school together. He and I both believe that we can do some good things (at UMKC) and that we can win some games. I’m excited about it.”

Last season, Anderson returned the girls basketball program to prominence after a six-win 2003-04 campaign, guiding the Timberwolves to a 14-12 record and taking them to the brink of the state tournament, falling one game short.

He leaves North with two of the Mid-State Conference’s best players, senior point guard Amy Pryor and junior forward Kara Vaughan.

“Obviously I am leaving the best team I have ever coached,” Anderson said in a statement. “However, I know for certain that this group will adjust quickly to their new coach, just as quickly as they did with me. These girls are so intelligent and coachable that they will be successful with whoever coaches them.”

Norman Public Schools athletic director Frank Thompson said it’s a difficult time to replace a coach, with the fall semester about to start in just a few weeks. High school coaches teach as well as run their sports teams, so a new coach will have to be found before the semester begins.

“We hate to lose (Anderson), and we wish him well,” Thompson said. “Anytime a coach can move up to a college position, it’s usually a good move for the coach. But it’s bad timing for us. It puts us in a bind.

“At this time of the year, most (high) schools know who their head coaches are going to be. We’re scrambling right now. A lot of schools will not release a coach from a contract this time of year.”

But North’s talented squad, with four returning starters, will be a draw for potential candidates.

“We’ll adverise the position, and even at this time of year we’ll have a lot of good candidates,” Thompson said. “North has a good club coming back.”

For Anderson, it’s a homecoming of sorts. He went to UMKC in 1983 with former Mississippi coach Lee Hunt to lead the Kangaroos’ men’s team in its first year of Division I play. He was an assistant there for five years before leaving.

Before coming to North last season, Anderson was head coach at Talequah and was an assistant at Stillwater and Ada. His other college coaching experience was at Mississippi, SMU and East Central State University.

“Having lived in Kansas City for five years before makes it easier,” Anderson said. “It’s an easier transition. I have friends up there, my son will be closer to his mom. It’s a good opportunity.”

As for his players, Anderson says they were disappointed with his decision, but that they’ll bounce back.

“It pulls on my heartstrings for these kids,” Anderson said. “Anytime you leave, it’s hard. At first, I thought they were OK with it, but they are upset and it’s hard. Whoever comes in there is going to be set up. It’s a very good team. They’re such good players and hard workers, they’ll be great with any coach.”

Kate Scott-Goldberg, who played at OU and was Anderson’s assistant last year at North, will be leaving also.

Anderson’s departure is the latest in a list of changes in NPS athletics this year.

Thompson replaced Ross Parmle as athletic director in April. Tim Gonzales is the new coach for Norman High’s slowpitch and fastpitch softball teams, moving over from North where he was an assistant. Kevin Ball is also moving to NHS from North as an assistant to football and baseball.

Lance Manning will be the new North football coach, replacing Rick Sodowsky. Several new assistant coaches will be joining the North program as well.

— Lynn Garnand contributed to this report

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