Continuity creates consistency, and it starts at the top.
Every offseason, countless high school coaching jobs become available in Texas.
Up-and-coming coaches rise through the ranks, jumping from school to school as they work their way up the ladder, while others prove to be mediocre or downright bad at their job and get run out of town. Many times, life merely gets in the way and an amicable separation is required.
For whatever reason, some coaches cannot sit still and some programs simply cannot stand pat.
But there are exceptions.
Look no further than Copperas Cove, where Jack Welch has served as the Bulldawgs head football coach since 1994.
In 19 seasons, Welch amassed 167 victories, while guiding the Bulldawgs to the playoffs in 14 of the last 15 years. His teams have competed for state championships and his players have achieved gridiron glory both collegiately and professionally.
Obviously, Welch cannot take credit for all the accomplishments his program and its players produced, but he should receive recognition for providing an entire athletic department with almost two decades of stability. For better or worse, Welch’s philosophies are set in stone and every player who suits up for him understands the expectations.
And it does not hurt Welch’s staff is littered with experience within the program. Nine assistant coaches have been with the team for at least a decade. The Bulldawgs coaching staff is so familiar with each other, it is almost impossible to not be on the same page, work in cohesion and have a clear-cut, long-term plan for the program.
Not all schools are so lucky.
Lampasas hired its second head football coach in less than a year Wednesday, ushering in Brian Emerson as the newest face of the Badgers. Emerson is Lampasas’ ninth head coach since Welch began at Copperas Cove.
It is a staggering number, but the Badgers faithful are hopeful Emerson will be the one to stick around and create a legacy in Lampasas.
His track record indicates he might.
Emerson held his first head coaching job at Blanco for 12 seasons, transforming the Panthers from a one-win team in 1990 into the 2001 Class 2A, Division I state champions during his tenure.
Then, Emerson departed for Medina Valley, where he once again revived a program over an 11-year stint. After going 1-9 during his first season with the team, Medina Valley began thriving under Emerson, winning its district championship in six of the last eight seasons.
It takes time to entrench oneself in a program, and growing pains typically occur, but when a school commits to a coach and vice versa, good things usually happen, and regardless of sport, the longer a head coach remains with a team, the more consistent the program becomes.
Inevitably, there is a trickle down effect. First, the coach’s philosophies penetrate into his assistants, then into the current players and then into the future players, and that is when the true magic happens.
Once a coach has invested a considerable amount of time with a program, he is going to have a hands-on approach and a familiarity with all the players who are coming through his pipeline. Upcoming players can be groomed for years prior to stepping into a role, allowing them to seamlessly transition from middle school to high school or from junior varsity to varsity.
Simply having one head coach for a long time guarantees nothing. Lots of factors come into play for a program to have a good season or a long stretch of success, but when a coach becomes entrenched in a school, the byproducts of his presence can become invaluable assets.
Lampasas hopes it invested in a coach who will provide the Badgers with consistency and, hopefully, success for years to come.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org