Ryan Flanigan spent the past four years coaching a successful Harker Heights boys soccer program, but his tenure has come to a close.

Flanigan submitted his resignation just after the Knights’ season ended in March after a 3-1 loss to Southlake Carroll in the area round of the Class 6A playoffs in order to transition into construction management.

Flanigan decided to step away from coaching to pursue a different profession, but he enjoyed his time holding the whistle at Harker Heights.

“I was really excited for the opportunity when I got the position,” Flanigan said. “I never really fell out of love with it, and I had a lot of support from KISD (Killeen Independent School District), players and parents. It had always been my dream to work on programs and build them up — everything from program management to improving facilities, I just always wanted to do that.

“I had that opportunity and did so. It was really exciting, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”

The Knights reached the postseason in three of Flanigan’s four years at the helm, including a run to the regional quarterfinals in 2014-15. Naturally, many fond memories were forged in that time.

“I feel really lucky to have lots of moments while I was there,” Flanigan said. “It’s hard to pick one that stands out, but one of the most memorable moments was winning a playoff game at home (against Rowlett) in 2015 in double overtime with a last-minute goal. It was an incredible goal by Irvin Barco that was assisted by Decare Grant.

“If I had to pick a moment, it was that moment because it was simply euphoric.”

Flanigan appreciated the support the Harker Heights community gave both he and his program, and he rarely had any issues with the players.

“From my perspective, I had a lot of fun getting to know the players, the young men there,” Flanigan said. “I had positive relationships with them, and we were able to achieve a lot. Winning makes everything fun and brings everyone together, and we had a lot of success over the past four years.

“We would not have had that success if we didn’t have those great kids. I can count on one hand how many issues I had, discipline-wise. I can literally remember five or six days I had to deal with that, so we’re talking 99 percent of my time there that was great.

“The players made that, and that’s what is hard to leave, definitely.”

Looking back on his time with the Knights, Flanigan was grateful.

“I just want to thank the community, the parents, the players, KISD and Harker Heights High School for all the support and the opportunity to have that position and that roll,” Flanigan said, “and the autonomy to experiment and do what I thought was best for the program and the players. They allowed me to do that, and I learned a lot.

“I’m going to use a lot of that moving forward, so thank you to everybody.”

Flanigan will be replaced by Chris Padilla, who moves over from Keller Central where he was an assistant coach for the Chargers. Padilla attended Texas Lutheran and was a three-time All-American Southwest Conference selection.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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