Trent Gregory doesn’t even want to think about the 0-20 streak he’s inheriting.
In his first interview after being hired by the Killeen Independent School District to be the next Ellison head football coach and athletic coordinator on Thursday, Gregory declared the Eagles’ record reset to 0-0.
“We’re just going to go to work,” Gregory said. “That’s why I’m so excited to meet these kids, because we’re going to work, and we’re going to work day-in and day-out. And we’re going to do that with a great attitude. “We’re not going to worry about what’s happened in the past, we’re going to worry about what’s going on with the Ellison Eagles right now.”
Gregory, 51, comes to Ellison after three years as the offensive line coach at Leander Vandegrift. He was selected by the KISD hiring committee among fellow finalists Mansfield defensive coordinator Jerry Edwards and White Settlement Brewer head coach Paul Sharr, who were invited for second interviews on Wednesday.
The job opened Nov. 16 when former Eagles head coach Buddy McBryde resigned after finishing with a second consecutive winless season.
While he might not be interested in Ellison’s recent struggles on the field, Gregory hopes to bring energy and reinvigorate life back into the Eagles’ program and its 34 years of tradition.
“That program is that community’s program, and I want the kids to feel welcome and be a part of this great thing we’ve got going on. I want the community to come in and be a part of what we have going on,” Gregory said. “It’s an overall team effort — it’s not just about one small group of people, it’s about the entire community of Killeen Ellison.”
With most of his experience coming on the offensive side of the ball, working as an offensive coordinator at both Mansfield Timberview and Austin Anderson, Gregory said he planned to open up the beleaguered Eagles’ offense.
Ellison’s offensive has been a source of contention among ex-players, parents and alumni during the five years under McBryde, who instituted the run-based wing-T offense upon taking over in 2008.
“What I’m seeing is there’s a lot of speed at Ellison High School and we need to use that speed,” Gregory said. “So it’s going to be a multiple offense. We’re going to spread these kids out, get them in some space and let them go to work.”
This will be Gregory’s second head coaching stint, having led his alma mater, Austin Anderson, for a decade from 1997-2006, compiling a 39-64 record with four winning seasons during that span.
After struggling through 0-10 and 1-9 campaigns during 1998-99, Gregory led the Trojans to a 6-5 season in 2000 for the first of three playoff appearances over the next four years (2000, 2002, 2003) — including going 9-2 in 2002 and 7-4 in 2003, where he won the program’s only district (26-4A) championship in 2003.
“It was a good chance to learn and get an experience of being a head football coach and athletic coordinator and I look forward to bringing a lot of my experience and knowledge to Killeen Ellison,” Gregory said.
From 2004-2006, Gregory’s Trojans suffered through three straight 2-8 seasons before he became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Mansfield Timberview from 2007-2009. Gregory left Timberview in 2009 to return to his Austin-area roots and be closer to his ailing father, who had been diagnosed with cancer at the time, joining Vandegrift’s staff as the offensive line coach.
Family was a big part of the pitch for Gregory, a married father of two and recent grandfather. It’s that family environment that Gregory hopes to create within the entire Ellison athletic program.
“I think as we begin to learn how all this will fit in the puzzle, our entire program is going to grow,” Gregory said.
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