McGuire a stout addition to an increasingly Texan staff at Baylor

The third Texas high school football coach to join Matt Rhule's staff adds an unbelievable punch.
Photo by Mary Scott McNabb

Photo by Mary Scott McNabb

Just a week ago when Baylor hired Temple head coach Matt Rhule, the permeating thought around the Big 12 and amongst observers of the recruiting scene within the state of Texas was “Where are the Texas ties to the new Baylor staff?”

Any thought of a lack of ties in the state – at least from a recruiting perspective – have been laid to rest in the span of four days as Rhule and Baylor have poached the Texas high school football ranks for three of their brightest stars.

On Friday morning, word leaked that Rhule had landed San Antonio Reagan head coach David Wetzel to take what appears to be a position in football operations. Wetzel, who has been serving as the president of the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA), is a Killeen native and a Baylor alum. Wetzel’s position within THSCA certainly gives instant credibility to the Baylor staff with the coaches in Texas.

Then on Tuesday, Rhule made his second splash of his young tenure by bringing on Round Rock Cedar Ridge head coach Shawn Bell. Bell, a rising star in the coaching ranks, had put together successful tenures at Clifton, Magnolia West and in his one year in Round Rock, guided the Raiders to an 11-1 mark. Bell also has plenty of ties to Baylor as he is a China Spring alum, where he played for his father Mark Bell, and is a former Bears quarterback. The fit was natural in the grand scheme of things. Bell will certainly be a nice addition to the on-field staff as he’s an offensive mastermind, but he’ll be a guy who can recruit in the fertile Central Texas corridor from Waco to San Antonio, along with having ties to the Houston area.

5jl-x0-x_400x400-2The biggest splash was made late Wednesday morning as word leaked that Rhule had landed maybe the biggest fish in the Texas high school coaching ranks as Cedar Hill HC Joey McGuire announced to his team in a noon meeting that he was leaving Cedar Hill to join Rhule’s staff at Baylor. McGuire nearly joined Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas almost two years, but turned down what was inevitably going to be a nice pay raise to remain in Cedar Hill and coach his son Garrett through his senior year. McGuire told me then, “I can’t leave G (Garrett), it’s been so much fun seeing him at school every day and I can’t give that up. Of course I’m interested in a college job, but I want to coach my son until his high school career ends.”

McGuire lived up to what he told me in early 2015 and he coached his son in his final game as Cedar Hill fell to DeSoto in the Class 6A Division II state quarterfinals 51-40. At that time, most (including myself) thought it would be McGuire’s last game in Cedar Hill, but what a legacy McGuire built in the beautiful southern Dallas suburb. McGuire, who was promoted to head coach in early 2003, took over a program that had just moved from Class 4A to Class 5A and was thought of more as a basketball school. Cedar Hill had never won a playoff game, but slowly McGuire began to build as Cedar Hill itself grew.

After two years floating near the .500 mark, Cedar Hill broke through in 2005, finishing 7-4 and beating DeSoto for the first time in years. The Longhorns fell in the first round of the playoffs to Allen, but that was just the beginning. Led by the incomparable William Cole, Cedar Hill blazed to not only their first playoff win in school history in 2006, but the Longhorns rolled to a state title, beating Cypress Falls 51-17 behind Cole’s record-setting performance. That would be the start of an impressive 12-year run of success where Cedar Hill would notch 34 total playoff wins, three total state titles (2006, 2013, 2014), one other state title game appearance (2012) and two quarterfinal games (2008, 2016).

McGuire’s legacy in Cedar Hill will outlast us all as the three state titles are proudly displayed on the Longhorn Stadium press box and on a water tower in town. His charisma and ability to relate to his players was evident to me the first Cedar Hill spring game I attended way back in 2005, and lasts to this day. There is no question his connections and personality will help Baylor be a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting trail, most notably on the always competitive DFW recruiting scene.

Coach McGuire will certainly be missed on the Texas High School Football scene, but our loss on the high school side is certainly Baylor’s gain.

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