LAMPASAS — Brian Emerson thought he blew his chance.
For the past several years, Emerson regretted not taking advantage of an opportunity to come to Lampasas when the head football coaching job became available in 2009.
“When they hired Joey McQueen, I kicked myself in the rear and said, ‘There went my opportunity,’” Emerson said. “(I thought) Joey would retire in Lampasas, and I’d never get my chance to get there. When I saw it come open again, I figured I’d better jump on this now because, for one reason or another, Lampasas has just always intrigued me.”
The Lampasas ISD school board unanimously approved hiring Emerson as the Badgers new athletic director and head football coach during a special called meeting Wednesday in the Lampasas High School cafeteria.
While Emerson was elated to capitalize on his second shot, Lampasas ISD Superintendent Randall Hoyer was equally thrilled to bring the veteran coach aboard.
“There is no telling where Lampasas is fixing to go,” Hoyer said. “We’ve got continuity and stability (within the school district), and he will be a huge, integral part of it. I’m really excited that he’ll be here for four, five, six, 10 more years.”
Emerson compiled an overall record of 153-101 during his 23-year career as a head coach for two programs. He made consecutive appearances in the state title game during 12 seasons at Blanco, winning the Class 2A, Division I state championship in 2001.
After spending a dozen years at his first head coaching position, Emerson relocated to Medina Valley in 2002, guiding the Panthers to the playoffs in six of the last eight seasons.
“He has the makeup of a man who will stay a while and build a program,” Hoyer said. “Without a doubt, that is what Lampasas needs.”
The Badgers have struggled to keep head football coaches for more than a few seasons with Emerson becoming the ninth since 1993 and the third in three years. Outside of McQueen’s three-year tenure from 2009-2011, Lampasas experienced little success on the football field, going 5-35 under the program’s three head coaches prior to McQueen, including a pair of winless seasons.
McQueen took over the position from Ryan Bailey, who went 0-20 during two years, and turned the program around, winning the Badgers’ first district championship in 20 years and reaching the playoffs twice before accepting a wide receivers coaching position at Hardin-Simmons University. Jimmy Randolph was promoted from defensive coordinator upon McQueen’s departure, but abruptly resigned after holding the position less than a year.
Emerson, who officially begins work April 1, has the task of reviving the program once again. He inherited teams in similar conditions at both Blanco and Medina Valley, where he went 1-9 in each of his first seasons.
“I think a real, true rebuilding job is something that takes place over time,” Emerson said. “You are not going to rebuild a program for four, five or six years. It is something that has to happen because of continuity ... and in time, the confidence and familiarity between (coaches and players) start to grow together, and that is when a program becomes successful.”