Winds of Change

Breaking down HS coaching carousel

Dr. Mike Jackson new coach at Grand Oaks Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com

So, what’s new in Houston HS sports?

Let’s start with football. While the state title games are over, the coaching carousel has been in full swing, especially with UIL realignment on the horizon.

n case you missed it, here’s what has happened. But more importantly, let me help our followers read between the lines.

Starting up north, District 12-6A has had some serious turnover.

Conroe – Cedric Hardeman of Alief Taylor replaces Robert Walker

Hardeman gets his players into college, period. He’s one of the best promoters in the city. Should use that to draw athletes to Tiger program. Will implement 7 on 7 and recruiting seminars.

The Woodlands – Mark Schmid Resigns; OC Jim Rapp is the Leading Candidate

This is a huge job in the State of Texas. Rapp will likely get this job as DC Pat Kennedy has been hired to open the new Montgomery School – Lake Creek. Big question is who will Kennedy take with him to Montgomery?

Big word here in this entire picture is RESIGNS. Will Mark Schmid coach next year? In a recent conversation with Schmid, the former Highlanders coach said there is a good chance we would be seeing him back on the sidelines in 2018. Schmid confirmed to VYPE that he is currently weighing options and could make a decision as soon as February. Schmid does currently live in Brenham. Stay Tuned.

Grand Oaks – Dr. Mike Jackson of La Marque opens new school

Dr. Mike has been at St. Pius, Chavez and La Marque in the past and has had success. See the word DR. in front of his name. He’s a tremendous administrator and will do a great job opening a new school on the athletic front. They will not play their first varsity district football game until 2021.

 

Lake Creek (Montgomery) – Pat Kennedy, DC of The Woodlands opens new school

Great first hire by Lake Creek. Kennedy is TOUGH, but the kids who play for him really respect him. He is used to winning and his defenses have been some of the best in the state. He’s going to have to be patient in this build out of the new school, which will likely be a Class 5A.

Another amazing hire at Lake Creek is Tommie Sledge, the volleyball coach at Oak Ridge, who has led the War Eagles to the state tourney a few times. With Royal Oaks opening and cutting into the Oak Ridge zone, Sledge will open Lake Creek which draws from the Woodforest Community that has kids who play select volleyball.

DISTRICT 16-6A

 

Aldine ISD – Richard Delgado Retires; Hired assistant AD Dre Thompson. District must hire new superintendent

What does all of this mean? Dre Thompson is a great hire and understands the importance of athletics, and keeping Aldine kids in Aldine. The KEY is the new Superintendent. This new hire MUST understand the IMPORTANCE of ATHLETICS in the school curriculum – such as Athletic Periods and Coaching Benefits, just to name a few. The future success of ALDINE ISD will start at the tippy top – the new Superintendent.

 

Eisenhower – Kerry Bamburg is Out; Keeath McGee and Eric Jackson are Finalists

The Ike Eagles have been a power program for years in Houston. In fact, AD Dre Thompson was once the head coach there and wants to get the right guy in place. If so, the Eagles can return to the top of the district. Ike has been to the state finals in 1999 and the state semis eight times.

Keeath Magee is no stranger to the Houston-area. He was the head coach at Willowridge, then left to be the head coach at North Crowley, then left to be the coach at Beaumont Ozen. Then to Pearl River CC, then was an assistant at Westfield and is now an assistant at A&M Consolidated.

Eric Jackson was the GHFCA Assistant Coach of the Year at Ike in 2015. He’s a defensive coach.

 

MacArthur – Andy Garza is Out; MacArthur Wayne Crawford and Scott Joseph are the finalist

Big Mac hasn’t been in playoffs since 2007 – which is a decade. Building from the junior highs will be paramount for this new hire. Wayne Crawford is an existing offensive coach at Mac, while Scott Joseph is the Morton Ranch DC. He was recently at Navarro CC and is the brother of Gary Joseph.

DISTRICT 19-6A

Katy Taylor – Chad Simmons replaces Trey Herrmann

Stability, stability, stability. Coming over from his DC post at Cinco Ranch, Simmons is a solid pick to replace Herrmann, who was placed on admin leave. It left the Mustangs in a mess with a ton of talent in the stable last year with Ian Beek, Ottito, Max Wright (ACL), etc. It was a bad situation all the way around. Simmons will bring a much-needed TOUGHNESS to Katy Taylor.

DISTRICT 21-6A

Summer Creek – Brian Ford Retires

Retires? He’s too young to retire. Brian Ford is off to the golf course after opening Summer Creek a decade ago. He built a solid program over the years, which is coming off a playoff appearance. Ford is from the North Shore David Aymond coaching tree and helped the ‘Stangs win their first state title in 2003. So who gets the job? DC Corey Sterling is definitely a candidate, who joined Ford from North Shore as well.

DISTRICT 22-6A

Pasadena ISD has two positions to fill at Dobie and South Houston, while legendary coach Chris Massey leaves Deer Park to pursue a career with Balfour Rings.

Deer Park – Chris Massey has Retired

Interviews begin Friday

South Houston – Dwayne Lane hired as Clear Creek Head Coach; Open

Lane brought a new culture to South Houston in a very short time, leading the Trojans to back-to-back playoff appearances for the third time in the school’s 60-year history. He got the call to come home to Clear Creek, where he used to work for coach Darrell Warden. His son is a freshman at Clear Creek as well. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity. 

Dobie – Mike Norman is out… New hire within days

DISTRICT 23-6A

AD Ben Pardo has some key hires to make as Pearland and Dawson are open. After talking to Pardo, the decision will come down in early February. These will be big hires as dominos are sure to fall if other coaches outside the program are hired.

Pearland – Interim HC Jim Farmer

Dawson – Eric Wells resigns after opening school 11 years ago

DISTRICT 24-6A

Clear Creek – Darrell Warden Retires; Dwayne Lane of South Houston returns to run the program

OTHER CLASSES

Willis – Audie Jackson is out

Navasota – Patrick Goodman reassigned

La Marque – Dr. Mike Jackson moved to Grand Oakes

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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