Paxton Kilby picked as new Shawnee boys' head basketball coach
Paxton Kilby is all about family.
Kilby, who spent the last two seasons as boys' head basketball coach at Latta High School, is now the new boys' head basketball coach at Shawnee High School, pending approval at the Shawnee Public School Board's August meeting.
“The Wolves welcome Paxton Kilby! His energy, enthusiasm and vision will continue to build the SHS basketball tradition,” said Todd Boyer, director of Shawnee Athletics.
Kilby replaces Ron Arthur, who served as the Wolves' head coach the past 16 years. Arthur is still with the Shawnee district as assistant athletic director.
“I'm extremely excited. Obviously, Coach Arthur has done a great job with the program the last 16 years,” said Kilby. “It's intriguing and enticing with the school and administration. It seems great and I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
Kilby will inherit a team which returns three starters and some key reserves off a Class 5A state tournament qualifying team. The Wolves were unable to play in the state tournament in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What intrigued Kilby about the position is the sense of family and culture established by Arthur.
“In meeting with Coach Arthur, I appreciate the culture that was established and how the kids loved playing for him,” Kilby said. “Hopefully, we can continue to have that in our program and we'll be the type of program which supports other programs like baseball, football and the girls' sports.”
Kilby guided the Latta Panthers to a 16-13 record this past season and into the Class 2A area tournament.
“I've been fortunate to have good mentors who instilled confidence in me. Latta developed me and I was fortunate to have good kids and good success,” said Kilby.
“We are excited about Paxton Kilby and the energy and enthusiasm he will bring to the Shawnee boy's basketball team and the high school, collectively,” said Dr. April Grace, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools. “He has a great vision for the program and will be a tremendous asset to the community and school. We look forward to his joining the SPS team.”
Grace added that Kilby's love for his players and desire to instill character, work ethic, leadership and community service will make him a great fit for Shawnee Public Schools and the basketball program.
Kilby, an East Central University graduate, also had teaching and coaching stints at Earlsboro, Sasakwa and Ada, prior to his arrival at Latta.
“He brought passion and love to Latta,” said Latta Athletic Director and girls' basketball coach Bruce Plunk. “He fell in love with the school and atmosphere as an assistant and gave a lot to be a part of the school system. He's a solid human being, good Christian man. He has high standards and high expectations for his players.”
Evidence of that came this past season when the Panthers got off to a slow start but battled back to reach the area tournament and upset top-ranked Oklahoma Union.
“We will have a hard time replacing him. We wish him the best,” Plunk said.
Kilby's wife is Sadie and they have two young sons – Jamison (2 years) and Kobe (4 months).