It is time for Keith Stifflemire to share his knowledge.
For the past 10 years, Stifflemire served as an assistant coach at Copperas Cove and Gatesville, absorbing countless pointers, plays and philosophies.
Now, he intends to put the experience to use after recently accepting a job as head football coach and athletic director at Riesel.
“The timing was perfect,” Stifflemire said. “I’ve learned under some really great coaches in Kyle Cooper at Gatesville and Jack Welch at Copperas Cove, and I just felt that I’ve learned so much that it was time to jump back up into a head coaching position.
“It was just time to share what I’ve learned.”
Stifflemire was head coach at Evant for seven years prior to joining the Bulldawgs’ staff in 2009. Then, he spent last season as an assistant for the Hornets.
While Stifflemire admits he is eager for the opportunity to shape a program to meet his vision, he also intends to adhere to the groundwork laid by former head coach Robert Little, who left in April for the same position at Taylor.
“There are a lot of things about Riesel that aren’t broke,” Stifflemire said, “and if it’s not broke, then we’re not going to try and fix it.
“There’s no reason to go out and try to reinvent the wheel, so I just want to take the things they already do well and keep them rolling.”
The Indians are coming off their most successful season in recent history, finishing with a 10-3 record after placing second in the District 8-2A, Division I standings and reaching the third round of the playoffs.
But Stifflemire will inherit a program experiencing significant turnover.
The Indians are losing more than a dozen seniors to graduation, including all-district co-offensive player of the year Steven Searcy. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 862 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 989 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Additionally, three offensive and six defensive players who landed on the all-district first team must be replaced.
While a transitional period is inevitable for Stifflemire, at least it will take place within familiar surroundings.
Once the details of his contract are finalized, Stifflemire will begin his second stint at the school after serving as defensive coordinator at Riesel for three years, culminating in the spring of 2002, when he departed for Evant.
“I’ve always liked Riesel,” Stifflemire said, “because it is right in the middle of everything and centrally located. Plus, they’ve got some great athletes coming through, and they’ve got good people in the community.
“It’s just a great place to be.”