After a national search, Rylee Hernandez has been selected as the 9th Head Coach in Seward County Men’s Basketball History. Hernandez comes to Seward after a 5-year stretch as the Head Coach at Williston State College, which includes winning the 2019 District XI Championship and becoming the second-ever coach at Williston State to earn a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament at Hutchinson. This past season Hernandez led Williston to a 12-11 record and lost in the semifinals of the Region XIII tournament to the future District champions Dawson Community College.
“I am excited about having Coach Hernandez join us at Seward County” Athletic Director Dan Artamenko stated. “He has already found success on the court, taking a team to the NJCAA National Tournament and being regarded as one the top up-and-coming coaches in the NJCAA, but I believe he is as good of a fit off the court. We need to develop scholarships at Seward County and Coach Hernandez’s background in fundraising and growing scholarships will give us a path to reach the top of the Jayhawk league under his direction.”
In the last two full-time (non-covid) seasons, Coach Hernandez’s teams have been ranked or received votes in the NJCAA Top 25 polls multiple times and became the first team in Williston State history to beat perennial powerhouses such as Western Nebraska, College of Southern Idaho, Casper College, and Southeastern (IA). In addition to the team’s success, two players have been named NJCAA Division-1 All-Americans (Jones ’19, Jackson ’17).
“I am excited to be the next Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Seward County Community College” Coach Hernandez stated on Tuesday. “My family and I identified Liberal, Kansas as a great place to serve, teach, and grow young men in the game of life and basketball while raising our family. The cohesion across campus and the support within the community allow for success to be achieved in the classroom, community, and on the court at a high level. SCCC has a strong basketball tradition that I look to continue to grow.”
The Saints’ last National Tournament appearance was also in 2019 with a Region VI and District VI championship. The Saints have won the Region Championship six different times with three 3rd place finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament. Seward County had an 8-13 overall record last season and lost in the first round of the Region VI tournament to Independence Community College.
Hernandez will move to Liberal with his wife Kit Hernandez, daughter Elly, and dog Leroy.