This photo illustration of the year in sports placed third in the best page design category.

Houston sports said hello to three new coaches in 2010 and goodbye to an athlete who will be remembered as one of the best in school history.

The Houston High School football, boys’ basketball and volleyball programs were each under new leadership when Chris Edwards, Brent Hall and Debbie James resigned from their respective positions during a two-month period in the spring and early summer. They were replaced by David Williams, Dustin Kirkman and Amy McNew. Kirkman and McNew were first-time head coaches.

As three eras began under new coaches leadership, a two-year run of witnessing one of the area’s top players came to an end. Kyle Poynter, who transferred to Houston from Lebanon prior to his junior year, completed his career with a record-breaking senior season. He eclipsed the boys’ basketball scoring record and was named the SCA’s player of the year. He earned all-state honors in basketball and baseball — the sport Poynter led the Tigers to the regular-season and tournament conference championships. He was also named the conference’s baseball player of the year.

Poynter wasn’t the only one enjoying individual success. Senior Bethany Korte blazed her way to a third-place finish in the 100-meters at the state track meet in Jefferson City.

“I just about cried. I was so happy,” said Korte, who also finished 14th in the long jump.

Korte was also a member of the girls’ 4×200 relay team — with Danielle Pounds, Kaitlyn Kell, Taylor Korte — that placed first in districts. The same foursome won the 4×100 relay at the SCA meet in Salem.

Korte was joined at the state track meet by sophomore Kyle Jones, who placed ninth in the long jump and 12th in the high jump.

As a team, HHS baseball was the school’s best in 2010. Behind staff aces Poynter and Chris Mooney and under the direction of coach Brent Hall, the Tigers won the program’s first conference tournament title since 2007. Houston also joined teams from 1975, ‘92, 2001 and ‘05 as SCA champs.

Poynter (9-3, 151 ERA) and Mooney (6-1, 1.58 ERA) were the driving forces behind the team’s success. They were two of eight players receiving all-conference honors. Hall was voted the SCA coach of the year.

David Williams made his fifth football stop in the conference as a head coach when he was hired to replace Edwards. He won district titles at all four of his previous stops. Year No. 1 at Houston wasn’t a successful one. The Tigers went 0-10.

Just two months after she was inducted into hall of fame at Missouri State University, McNew replaced longtime Lady Tigers coach Debbie James as new HHS volleyball coach. McNew had previously served five seasons as James’ assistant coach. Houston lost to Cabool in the district semifinals to finish with a 16-14-2 record.

A HHS alumni, Kirkman said it was his professional dream to coach at Houston. He accomplished that goal in April and took the reigns of a program that hasn’t won a district or conference title since the 1980s. The 2009-’10 team went 10-15.

Poynter provided the individual highlight of the year in late February when he poured in 50 points against Willow Springs to match the HHS single-game record set by Stan Smith in the late 1970s and Marty Henderson in 1993. He hit five 3-pointers and was successful driving to the basket and finishing in the lane. He was a career-best 19-for-20 at the free-throw line.

Poynter scored Houston’s first 20 points and 42 of the team’s 47 points through three quarters. He tied the school mark with a pair of free throws with 1 minute, 59 seconds remaining.

“It’s something for the record books and everybody to remember,” Hall said.

The girls’ basketball team lost its district opener to Willow Springs and finished 9-17 under veteran coach Brent Kell.

Competing in districts for just the second time, the Lady Tigers softball team was upset by Willow Springs in the opener. The team, which started six freshmen, went 11-12 in the second season under coach Willy Walker.

In the college ranks, Houston native Jeff Gettys completed his five-year career as a member of the University of Missouri football team. A walk-on when he arrived in Columbia, Gettys earned a scholarship and many accolades. He recently was named the program’s scholar-athlete of the year and his final season — Missouri went 10-3 — was the fourth 10-win season in team history.

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