Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 26, 2013

JOE ELERSON: Henderson County is losing several quality coaches

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — The coaching carousel continues as we have now lost our fifth head coach since December in Henderson County.

I always hate this time of year as a journalist to report schools having to look for a new leaders for their athletic programs. The turnover has been intense in recent weeks.

We now have a new football coach in Brownsboro and Eustace, while Cross Roads and Trinidad are looking for the right person to fill the same openings at their schools.

In Mabank, they have a new baseball coach to replace Jeff Johnson, who has now taken on the head job at Mesquite Poteet.

It will be interesting to see how Brownsboro head coach Jason Hooker and Eustace head coach Heath Ragle continue the success of their football programs in three months when the first games are scheduled.

Ragle has experience with Henderson County, as he was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Eustace behind Brian Herman who led the team to a 15-8 record in two seasons. Herman left the school to take the same position at Lockhart ISD earlier this month.

Ragle knows the situation at Eustace and has a good system in place at The Boneyard for the 2013 football season. The kids will be focused to make another playoff run this season under the leadership of a young head coach.

One of the bright spots in Eustace was watching its offseason workouts Thursday morning and the respect the students have for Ragle as their leader.

You could see the excitement as the students were coming into practices and how they made sure not to waste time getting out to the football field.

I see good things coming out of The Boneyard in the future under the leadership of Ragle.

In Brownsboro, Hooker inherits a program that has gone 6-14 in the past two seasons. The Bears went 1-9 in Ty Thomison’s first year with the program and 5-5 in 2012. They missed a playoff spot by one game.

As I said in an earlier story this week regarding the departure of Trinidad athletic director and football coach Kevin Ray, he is a coaching legend ranking ninth on the all-time wins list in Texas six-man football.

I remember meeting Kevin for the first time at the ripe age of 18 years old and covering six-man football.

His knowledge of the game made me actually like that style of football and it’s how I ultimately called it, “a track meet on grass.”

After writing the story on Ray in this week’s paper and calling him a legend in the county, Ray responded by e-mail saying, “Thank you for the nice article. I think you may have gone too far calling me a legend.”

I think when you have a record as solid as he had in the Henderson County area at 107-34 with a state title that you deserve to get the credit as a solid head coach.

It should also be an interesting offseason as Cross Roads and Trinidad figured out a coaching candidate to take over those schools.

With the loss of coach Brad Wallace and Ray leaving for West Texas, hopefully the right person will show up in plenty of time to get a system set up before the two-a-day practices invade our student athletes in the next three months.

And then we have Mabank — which has named Rod McDaniel as its new baseball coach for the upcoming year.

We have seem many quality coaches head out of Henderson County this year and this always seems to happen every offseason.

I make sure that if I get the chance to talk with them before they leave that I give them my appreciation for the job they do in making students into the leaders they are when they leave the playing field.

Coaching is by far one of the most difficult jobs on the high school level and we have been blessed to have some solid leaders for every school in this county.

Hopefully that tradition will continue and I am grateful to be able to work with all of the coaches here in Henderson County.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Daily Review. He can be reached at jelerson@athensreview.com.