Kiff Wiemers never lived in Lampasas, but it still feels like coming home.
A 2001 graduate of nearby Fredericksburg, Wiemers’ career guided him across the state to East Texas. Despite developing a winning program, something was lacking.
He wanted to return to his roots, and thanks to an unexpected opening at Lampasas, he was able to.
Wiemers was recently hired as Lady Badgers head soccer coach, replacing Tracy Brantley, who resurrected the program before stepping down following the birth of her first child.
Although Wiemers’ encounters with Lampasas were brief and sparse, according to all he knows about the small town, it sounds like home.
“From everything I’ve ever seen or ever heard about Lampasas growing up, that area is just a really good, wholesome school district and town,” Wiemers said. “It reminds me a lot of my upbringing, so I’m really excited to have my children experience the same type of upbringing that I was able to have in Central Texas.”
In addition to moving closer to family and his childhood home, inheriting a team loaded with potential is another perk for the married father of two.
Wiemers, who spent the first six years of his head coaching career at Jacksonville, made the playoffs every season with the Lady Maidens, but was never able to advance beyond the first round.
Simply reaching the postseason would be a disappointment in Lampasas, however, following three consecutive appearances in the sectional round and repeating as district champions last year. With only four seniors graduating from the 2014 roster and a wealth of talent returning, including two-time defending district MVP Analise Watson, expectations are high.
“I know there is a really good, solid core group that is highly active and involved,” Wiemers said. “I’m excited to get in with a team with that kind of talent and see if I can’t add something to that and make a deep run.”
Prior to Brantley’s arrival in 2012, the Lady Badgers were coming off a two-win season, but quickly turned their fortunes around, ending a 20-year drought without a district championship in 2013.
Now, Wiemers wants to continue the legacy Brantley began, but merely producing victories is not enough for the Texas Tech graduate. He insists on winning with character.
“One of the things I love about athletics and education in particular is building these young student athletes into adults,” Wiemers said. “I love the medium that athletics provides to allow that. Trying to win in life in a dishonest way never works very well, but trying to maintain character and poise and earning respect with your wins is a philosophical matter to me.”
While Wiemers has yet to meet the players, intending to be relocated to Lampasas within the next three weeks, he is certain the team will adhere to his ideology after the head coach at district rival Nacogdoches gushed over the Lady Badgers following a playoff loss last season.
“She said, ‘You could just tell from talking to them, talking to the coach and watching the kids play, they just had a genuine respect that comes from a good town and a good environment,’” he said. “That squad already earned that coach’s respect. That is exactly the kind of squad I would like to walk into and maintain.”
Wiemers began his coaching career at Plainview, where he served as an assistant powerlifting and volleyball coach before transitioning to Jacksonville, where he also was the head girls cross country coach, winning the district championship in 2013.
Having spent the past six years commuting 30 miles to and from Jacksonville, Wiemers is ready to settle down with his family and enjoy the lifestyle he remembers growing up.
“I told my wife that I really wanted to live in the town where I teach so I can run into people I know and be a part of the community,” he said.
“She’s not quite used to that. Every time we would go to Jacksonville, I would run into somebody, and it was always so much fun. I want her to experience that as well.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org