"It's a great day to be a Wildcat."

"It's a great day to be a Wildcat."
This phrase, perhaps more than any other, sums up what it feels like to be a Neosho school student or alumni.
The man who coined those iconic words is Jim Stuart, a longtime teacher and coach. Although Stuart is retiring, his unforgettable words will be heard in the halls of Neosho for years to come.
Stuart came to Neosho in 1991 after bouncing around in high schools and colleges in Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. Over the years he coached football, baseball, basketball and track, in both the junior and senior high schools. Of all the sports he has coached, he most liked basketball.
"When you coach basketball, you only have five guys to get to work together," he said. "In football you have 11, and in baseball there are nine guys who work together. It's easier to get them together."
Stuart and his wife Bernadette have three children. Their oldest son, Zack, was born in Minnesota and is a pitching coach in Illinois. Their daughter Rachael is an accountant with a local business and Logan is studying at Crowder College with an eye on following his dad's footprints.
Stuart was born in Kansas City and has been a Royals fan since the team came to town in 1969. As a fan, Stuart would like to attend an opening day Royals game and, now that he is retired, he can.
When he was a kid, Stuart’s father was a veterinarian and their family had horses. He and his friends played cowboy polo, and a game they invented called run, ride and tied. Although Stuart no longer has horses, he still likes to ride.
Stuart also likes to run. For years, has run three miles each morning before school. Now that he’s retired, he said he may run on the weekends.
Although he has been a coach all these years, Stuart also taught government and American history and many of his fellow teachers have high praise for his work in the classroom.
“I liked teaching,” Stuart said, “equally to coaching.”
Every year in Neosho was different for Stuart but he pointed to the 2001 school year as being special. That was the year the senior class invited him to speak at graduation.
“That was kinda neat,” he said.
Stuart said that teaching was a good career for him, and he wouldn’t trade it for any other job.
“I loved the kids—all of them,” he said.
And, of course, he truly believed that every day was a good day to be a Wildcat.
And that’s why Jim Stuart is this week’s good neighbor.