Jason Fossett always kept the cellphone number that included a 254 area code, so it makes sense the longtime basketball coach characterizes his latest move as one that’s back home.

The Central Texas native was hired as Belton’s boys basketball coach in late May to replace Trovocie Jackson, who vacated the position after two seasons to assume the same role at Burleson Centennial.

“I think it was meant to be, coming back toward home,” Fossett said Friday while on his way to Texas State in San Marcos to watch some of his future Tigers participate in a basketball camp. “It’s funny how things work out sometimes. And when you talk to people about Belton, I don’t think anybody has anything bad to say about it.

“Belton has good people. The first thing that stands out is the type of kids and type of administration. There’s a quality school system and first-class organization at Belton.”

Fossett, a Clifton graduate who went on to play baseball at Mary Hardin-Baylor (1992-96) and earn his bachelor’s degree there before securing a master’s at Baylor, returns to Bell County with a 370-194 career record accumulated with five programs, starting with McGregor in 1997.

After two seasons with the Bulldogs, Fossett spent two years at Hearne, four at Austin Crockett and seven at Killeen where his Kangaroos won six district titles during his tenure. He then spent two seasons at Flower Mound before a stint as an assistant at Ponder.

“It’ll be different when I walk into the Killeen gym for the first time,” Fossett said with a chuckle, adding that he’s had prior interactions with many of the coaches in what will be District 12-6A — Belton, Temple, Killeen, Shoemaker, Ellison, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Waco and Waco Midway — when the season begins in November.

With the Tigers, Fossett inherits a relatively young team. Nine players graduated from Belton’s 2017-18 squad that went 19-15 and qualified for the program’s first playoff appearance since 2004. The excitement left behind by that bunch, however, is a factor that Fossett believes he can use.

“You have to try to build on what they have going the last couple seasons. I think they have it going in the right direction,” Fossett said. “We are going to be young but that doesn’t mean we won’t compete every night and that’s what you instill in them, because that’s what this district demands.”

Belton also announced the hiring of girls soccer and girls golf coaches within the last couple of weeks.

Oscar Bersoza, another UMHB grad, now leads the Lady Tigers on the pitch, taking over for Wendy Knight after her six seasons in charge. Among Bersoza’s previous roles, the Odessa native spent seven seasons at the helm of Temple’s girls soccer team and two at Harker Heights. He left Temple for a gig at Frisco Heritage in 2013 and returned to the area last year as a Belton boys soccer assistant.

Eric Regier, who is originally from Kansas, was named the girls golf coach. Regier has a bachelor’s degree from Bethel College and a master’s from Fort Hays State University. Regier replaces Bill Epperson.

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