Aaron Nuckles is going where he belongs.
After spending the first five years of his career at Class 1A Lometa, Nuckles is making a move to something more familiar. He is reluctantly leaving the Hornets for an opportunity where he is at ease.
Nuckles is departing Lometa, where he guided the basketball program to four consecutive district championships, for a place more his style by accepting the head coaching job at Llano — a Class 4A team.
While Nuckles feels it is the right move, others agree.
“After being an assistant coach at Lampasas and coming to Lometa,” he said, “it was like, ‘Whoa, this is a big difference.’
“Now, I’m going to see the reverse affect when I go back to a larger school, but I’ve had two administrators tell me while I was here that I’m a big-school guy that needed to get back to a big school, so I could operate like a big school’s program does.”
Although Nuckles is leaving the only head coaching job he has known, he is doing so with plenty of good memories.
Nuckles produced an overall record of 100-41, making the playoffs every year, culminating with a 25-4 campaign this season that resulted in the program’s fourth district title.
Now, he looks forward to building a similar winning tradition with the Yellowjackets.
Despite missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, Nuckles feels the opportunity to become a district contender is within reach.
“This was definitely a down year for Llano,” he said, “I think they only won four games, but I think there are things that can be done to improve the team. I’m a firm believer that if you show up and put the hours in and do it right, the wins are going to come. I’m not knocking them. They just had a bad year last year, and I want them to have a great year next year.”
Llano will be in District 19-4A along with Lampasas, Salado, Liberty Hill, Taylor, Burnet and first-year program Leander Glenn.
Although Nuckles is looking forward to playing against all his new district foes, he is particularly excited about the chance to play against the Badgers after being an assistant for the team under current head coach Rob Shivers.
“I hope it comes down to me and Rob Shivers for either a district championship or a playoff position,” Nuckles joked. “Wouldn’t that be fun?
“Honestly, though, we’re going to be competing against some tough teams. We’ve definitely got work to do, but lets go see what we can do.”
Regardless of what the future holds for the Yellowjackets on the court, Nuckles is anxious to return to where he belongs.
“I’m ready to get back to the big-school atmosphere,” he said. “It’s just a different mentality with the big student sections and stuff like that. We had some things like that here, but it wasn’t what I was accustomed to.
“So, I’m ready in a positive way, and I’m thankful for all the wins I got at Lometa, but this is going to be a good move.”