By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Channon Hall always saw Shoemaker as a opportunity.
And after 10 years, he has finally seized it.
The Killeen Independent School District announced Saturday afternoon it hired Hall, a former Harker Heights assistant, to be Shoemaker's new head football coach/campus athletic coordinator.
"When we played against Shoemaker, I always felt like they had a great amount of athletes out there," Hall said.
"As I saw them struggle, I just felt like if I got in here that I could give them some motivation and give them something to look forward to and just move forward with that program."
Hall, 33, has been the offensive coordinator at Pflugerville Connally the last four years, helping the Cougars turn around a program that went 5-15 in two Class 5A seasons (2008-09) to a 10-2 campaign last year back in 4A.
"Coach Hall's enthusiasm is contagious, he is a proven winner, he has demonstrated leadership skills, and he is very student oriented," KISD Superintendent Robert Muller said. "We are confident that he will create excitement within the entire SHS athletic program. The community can look forward to great things happening at Shoemaker High School under Coach Hall."
Before serving under former Copperas Cove assistant coach Howard McMahon at Connally, Hall spent six years (2001-07) at Harker Heights working for his former high school coach, Ross Rogers.
However, he has never held a head coach position.
"I think Shoemaker's getting one of the great young head coaches coming out in the state right now," Rogers said. "I certainly think 12 years under the different coaches he's worked under - coach Mac (McMahan) at Connally, our staff there at Harker Heights - I just think he's groomed himself and I think he convinced ... the committee that he was the guy for the job."
Hall replaces former Shoemaker head coach Ken Gray, who abruptly retired June 9 following a second-consecutive 0-10 season, and inherits a team in the midst of a 22-game losing streak, the sixth-longest active streak in the state. Gray was 29-81 with one playoff appearance (2008) in 11 years as Shoemaker's only head coach.
Hall said he plans to instill in his players that it's time for a change when he meets with them Tuesday morning.
"That'll be my battle cry for those guys, not that anything was broke or whatever you want to call it. ... But it's time for change. And that's what I'm about right now," Hall said. "(Let's) give those kids some confidence, give those kids something to believe in and just move forward. Not look backwards, not look at the 22-game losing streak - I'm tired of hearing about that - let's move forward."
That enthusiasm and confidence, Killeen ISD Director of Athletics Tom Rogers said, was what set him apart from the 18 other applicants interviewed Wednesday and the two other finalists interviewed Thursday night.
"I think it was just his enthusiasm about the job and he had a plan and he knows it's going to work and that just came across so, so loud when he was giving his answers, when he was giving his presentation," Rogers said. "When somebody really wants a certain job, that jumps out at you. ...That's going to come across in everything you do and say, your body language and everything.
"The fact that he really wanted this job, not just any head coaching job, he wanted this job. And the confidence he exuded in his answers and his presentation were the key factors."
Rogers and Hall were both on Ross Rogers' staff at Heights. Tom Rogers said while their past relationship did play a factor in the decision, he added it was Hall's confidence in his presentation that swayed the hiring committee.
"I was concerned that he was not going to be able to come in and sell himself like he needed to," Rogers said. "But, he came in to both of the interviews and he blew the committee away and I mean everybody in the room kind of threw their pencil down like, 'That's our guy right there.'"
Hall graduated from A&M Consolidated in 1996 and played two seasons at Texas A&M-Kingsville before joining Ross Rogers' staff in 2001.
"He had good talent (as a player), but he wasn't a whole talented guy, he just, he was a team player," Rogers said. "When he went to work for us (at Heights), I knew what I was getting and he didn't disappoint.
"He brought a positive (atmosphere), he has discipline, but he has quiet discipline. He's not a screamer and a hollerer, but the kids know what he demands."
It was in college when Hall and Shoemaker assistant James Showers first met. Showers, at the time, was the head coach at Fort Stockton. They later reconnected when Hall joined the staff at Heights.
"I think he's always been and impressed upon me that he's a sharp, young coach," Showers said. "Just getting a feel for him, I think he's going to bring some energy, which we need - not that we didn't have it - but he's going to bring some energy with him and he's going to bring some change. Hopefully, that's a positive, good change that the kids will pick up on and run with it because that's what we're going to need. I think he'll do a good job."
Kingsville King head coach Robert Wilcox and East Texas Baptist University linebackers coach Dan Burk were also finalists. Burk had been a head coach at Conroe Caney Creek, Yoakum, The Colony, Navasota, Wimberley and Ranger high schools.
Hall had none of that head coach experience, but this was his opportunity.
"I didn't know if they had head coaching experience, but I expected that they did," Hall said. "If they had coaching experience, then they've had their opportunity and I felt like this was my opportunity."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.