By Nick Talbot
The Cove Herald
Joey McQueen waited to tell his team.
He wanted them to keep working hard.
"I was going to tell the kids before our team meeting this morning, but I was afraid to tell them because I didn't think they would work very hard so I waited until after bootcamp," McQueen said. But, with bootcamp over he broke the hard news to his team Thursday. He was stepping down as the head coach and athletic director at Lampasas to become the wide receivers coach at Hardin-Simmons.
"This is my 30th year (of coaching) and I think it is a good opportunity. I can retire and I knew when I retired I wasn't just going to sit on my rear and this is an opportunity to coach college," McQueen said.
In McQueen's three years as the head coach at Lampasas, the Badgers went 19-14 and went to the playoffs twice.
In his first game as head coach, McQueen did the unthinkable - he won a game, defeating Manor.
The prior two seasons the Badgers had gone 0-20.
It was a quick turnaround. This past season, Lampasas went 10-2 and won its first district title since 1986.
"When you go into a place there is a culture that you either attempt to change and there is no way you are going to or the kids buy into it," McQueen said. "Sure, dropping down to 3A made us more competitive, but we would have made the playoffs in 4A.
"It was that the kids believed in what we were doing. What I am most proud of as an athletic director is that we have coaches in place to continue this success."
That success followed McQueen everywhere he went.
Prior to accepting the position at Lampasas, McQueen guided 3A Smithville to its first win in two years.
In 2003, McQueen put San Angelo Lake View on the map again, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. A year later they won the district title.
Reeled back into coaching by Lampasas after taking a hiatus from coaching to pursue a master's degree
McQueen converted the Badgers offense to a slot-T. From there on out, the Badgers thrived.
This season, Lampasas had four 1,000-yard rushers (Brandon Scott, Secody Howard, Justin Maldonado and Marcus Kehoe) and it chewed up a more than 4,700 yards on the ground.
However, McQueen will be the wide receivers coach at Hardin-Simmons.
"Someone asked me 'how are you going to do that when you only threw the ball four times?' I said it didn't matter. I know how to coach receivers. We just didn't have that type of offense," McQueen said.
The opportunity arose for McQueen after he initially turned down a chance to be the offensive coordinator at Howard Payne and then just made a simple call about practice scheduling to Hardin-Simmons offensive coordinator Jeff Whitehead.
"Whoever comes in or if (defensive coordinator Jimmy) Randolph wants the job, they are going to be in good shape."
"I called them to ask some things about their practice schedule and I told him about Howard Payne and he told me, 'you know Joey, there might be something opening up here.' Lo and behold it did."
McQueen, 53, said one major draw for the job was the opportunity to spend more time with his family.
"There are a lot of things you do as an AD. With this it will be that way for five months - like in high school football, you will bust your tail - but when it is over you have time to sit back and go see your grandkids."
Another? He doesn't have to wash clothes.
"What I did every night (at Lampasas) was wash all of the clothes because all of the other coaches taught," McQueen said. "So, I washed everything. So, here (at Hardin-Simmons), I asked if I had to help wash and he said 'No, we had graduate assistants to do that.'
"So, I feel like I am in hog heaven."
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org.