Taking over a program is never easy.
Incoming coaches have to deal with a lot — from transforming the culture inside the locker room to instilling sometimes-foreign philosophies to simply learning the personalities and capabilities of players. Then, like any other new employee, there is the whole issue of merely adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings.
Additionally, most relocate upon accepting a new job, placing further stress on themselves as they deal with all the frustration that typically comes along with moving.
On top of all that, coaches have responsibilities within the classroom.
It cannot be easy, but somehow three Copperas Cove first-year head coaches made the transition appear rather seamless.
Brian Waller, Dusty Brittain and Eldridge McAdams, who all came from other programs during the summer, overcame all the obstacles related to being new and their programs thrived.
While Waller was the only one to reach the playoffs out of the trio, guiding the Lady Bulldawgs softball team into the postseason for a second consecutive year, all three programs were successful.
Perhaps nobody had a more difficult challenge than McAdams, who became the girls basketball program’s third head coach in four years.
Making matters worse, he was taking over the position from Teresa Durham, a veteran coach with a state championship on her resume, who endeared herself to the team. In 2013, with standout senior guard Shawnte’ Goff serving as the team’s leader in points, assists and steals, the Lady Bulldawgs reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008 before Durham surprisingly stepped down after the season.
The situation was far from ideal, but McAdams fell just shy of forcing a playoff play-in game in his debut season.
On the diamond, Brittain was a rookie at Copperas Cove in the truest form with the Bulldawgs serving as the first head coach position of his career.
A Gatesville graduate and former assistant with the Hornets, he took over a team that failed to make the playoffs in each of the five previous seasons and returned only one all-district selection — outfielder Tim Bechtold, who landed on the second team as a freshman.
Despite everything, the Bulldawgs won more games in the first month of the season under Brittain than all of 2013, when they went 5-23.
Like McAdams, however, Brittain’s first year ended without a postseason appearance as the Bulldawgs just missed the opportunity for a playoff play-in game, but the mere taste of success should propel the previously victory-starved program forward.
Waller walked into the best situation of the three with a young, talented roster ready to prove itself after earning the Lady Bulldawgs’ first playoff berth in four seasons in 2013.
It was not a cakewalk, but the team delivered a strong season and still has room to grow.
All things considered, most could not ask for anything more from these three first-year coaches.
They have endured the trials and tribulations of being new, and they still produced on the scoreboard.
Taking over a program is never easy, but Waller, Brittain and McAdams did about as masterful jobs as possible.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org