Catching up on some of the big HS coaching moves so far.
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As we go deeper and deeper into the offseason, there are always two things that we keep close tabs on here at TexasFootball.com – mainly because they’re the only two types of actual news that come out around this time. They are: recruiting (players committing or decommitting from schools) and high school coaching changes.
We’ve spent some considerable time on the former – with much, much more coverage to come as Signing Day inches ever closer on February 6 – but have only briefly touched on the latter so far.
There have already been a boatload of high school coaching changes across Texas, and we’ve talked about two of the biggest ones – Mike Jinks leaving Cibolo Steele to join the Texas Tech staff, and Blake Feldt taking over at Odessa Permian following Gary Gaines’ stepping down.
But as you can tell by our Coaching Changes page on TexasFootball.com, those are far from the only moves that have been made so far. Here are a few of the other world-shaking coaching moves that have happened so far.
We start in Class 3A, where East Texas coaching jobs are as hard to come by as anywhere in the state. So when Pittsburg’s Robert Manley needed to step down after six seasons due to family reasons, there was considerable speculation as to who would take over the Pirates. The answer was a bit of a shocker: Henderson coach Dickey Meeks. Meeks is a two-time state champion, winning a 4A title with Tyler Chapel Hill in 1989 and a 3A title at Henderson in 2010. Meeks had been at Henderson since 2006, and brings his experience – and 236 career wins – to a Pittsburg program that has missed the playoffs the last three years.
Down in the Valley, we’re saying goodbye to one of the all-time greats, as PSJA North coach Bruce Bush retired after 34 seasons as a head coach. Bush, who spent the last five years at PSJA North, has been around the game for 42 years, and racked up an impressive 272-111-8 record. That record came with stops at Dimmitt, Livingston, PSJA, Alice, Gregory-Portland, Donna, San Marcos and, of course, PSJA North. In Bush’s place steps Steve Flores, who spent the last two seasons as Edinburg Economedes’ offensive coordinator. The good news: he runs both the Slot-T and the Wing-T offense, which means that the PSJA North attack – which also ran the Slot-T – shouldn’t miss a beat.
The Conroe Tigers will have a new man at the helm for the first time in a decade as roger Holtkamp has moved into an administrative role on campus. Holtkamp has been the Tigers’ head coach for the last 10 seasons, and he had considerable success with his alma mater, taking them to the playoffs for four of the last six seasons. Now, the job falls to a pretty hot coaching name: Robert Walker, who moves over from San Antonio East Central. Now, you may look at what Walker did at East Central – a 44-35 record over seven seasons – and not think much of it. But East Central is not a traditionally strong program, and Walker helped to turn them into a San Antonio contender. Consider this: East Central won three playoff games under Walker; prior to his arrival, they’d won four playoff games in school history.
It’s not too often that we talk about a team that just played in a state title game looking for a coach, and yet here we are, talking about the opening at Corsicana Mildred. Just about a month ago, coach Patrick Harvell was calling plays for the Eagles in the Class 2A Division II state title game (which they would lose to East Bernard). Now, Harvell is off to Mexia to take an assistant principal job. That may seem odd to you, but in talking to the Corsicana Daily Sun, Harvell made it clear that while this was a difficult decision, this was a family-first move. Hard to fault him for that. Harvell coached Mildred for five seasons, guiding them to a 48-15 record. That’ll be a tough act to follow for whoever the Eagles bring in.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.