OWENSVILLE, Mo. (KMIZ)
Former Mizzou basketball player Cullen VanLeer is Owensville's new high school boys basketball coach.
"I'm really excited to be a part of the Owensville community, and I'm really excited to build a stellar basketball program with stellar young men," VanLeer said.
VanLeer played for the Tigers from 2015-2019. The Missouri native had to medically retire before his senior year, but he still had an active leadership role on the team.
"When I got hurt my junior year it was an unfortunate thing ending my playing career, but I just kind of took that last year as a great opportunity to learn from the best at the Division One level in Coach Martin and his staff," VanLeer said. "I feel like that really helped me with knowledge on how to start a program from the coaching side of things."
VanLeer was an assistant coach for his alma mater, Pacific High School, this past year. Cullen holds several records for the Indians, including points and rebounds.
"It's a unique experience definitely there [at Pacific]," VanLeer said. It was awesome. I wouldn't trade it. But, a new opportunity for the head job at Owensville came up, and I couldn't pass it up."
Owensville and Pacific are in the same conference, so they play each other every year. VanLeer said he looks forward to getting the chance to go up against his former team.
"My dad retired this year, so I won't have to coach against him," VanLeer said. "But, it will be fun. The conference game is at Pacific, so it will be cool to go back. It'll be a little different. I've never been on the left side of the floor on that bench."
VanLeer will also be the head boys golf coach at Owensville.