Springtown Athletic Director Brad Turner has dealt with dwindling resources over the past three years as coaching positions are vacated without replacement, but he is fully aware he is not alone. And despite the shrinking org chart of his coaching staff, Turner is matter-of-fact about the current environment of using coaching talent as best he can, and grateful for the staffing resources retained.
“Overall, we are probably down 10 coaches from three years ago,” Turner said. “But that’s not just in Springtown. Times are hard everywhere, and we are luckier here than some other districts.
“We haven’t cut players or programs, we’re just supporting our athletics with less bodies, which means our coaches are working a lot of hours.”
Turner, who is also the Porcupines’ head football coach, spent at least part of his summer assuring the staff was at full strength, though “full” has been somewhat redefined. Without the luxury of a one-to-one replacement, hardly ever the case for ADs, tweaks here and there help redistribute the load when necessary.
And the other formidable factor, often a deal breaker, in hiring coaches is to assure candidates have the credentials to teach the specific subjects in the classroom.
But sometimes, you get lucky.
“We have a new head coach for girl’s basketball,” Turner said of the Lady Porcupines’ program. “Susan Croft had been a head coach and girls’ athletic coordinator for 14 years in the Fort Worth ISD, at Southwest High School.
“She’s been to the regional tournament a few times, and is a very good coach. She took an assistant coaching job here last year, moving here and putting her kids in school here. That assistant’s job lasted exactly one year and she is now the head coach.”
Croft’s return to the head coaching was prompted by the departure of Ken Thompson, who headed up the program previously.
Tracy Tadlock took over Lady Pojo’s softball head coaching position last year and will extend his responsibilities for 2012-13, taking on both cross country teams. The running sport will keep Tadlock busy during the fall, as he shifts his attention to shoring up the SHS girls’ softball program.
With the bulk any high school’s coaching staff centered around football, moves made in the Springtown mentoring rolls precipitated other changes.
“Brad Legan will be our new defensive coordinator,” Turner said. “And Carl Hornback will be taking over as special teams coordinator.”
After some additional shuffling involving the gridiron staff, including coaches who left and new hires, the net effect was that Springtown lost two coaches from the football program.
Legan, who was the head track coach for both teams last year, will just be tasked with the boys’ team. The new head coach for girl’s track is Hannah Adams, who was on staff last year at Springtown.
Another Springtown head coach who will take over an additional program is James Rike, who remains the head basketball coach for the boys, but will also take over the golf program as head coach.
New hires were formidable for the overall athletic program, some at the middle school level and others at the high school.
“In football, we have two new middle school coaches, Drew McDorman and Dustin Edelman,” Turner said. “McDorman was a former Springtown student-athlete, whose dad used to be a basketball head coach here. And I coached Edelman in the Oil Bowl.”
The Oil Bowl is a postseason All-Star game between Texas and Oklahoma high school all-stars. Turner is thankful for the Texas High School Coaching Association, which helps promote the mainstream communication of available coaches and available positions.
“I had tried to get Edelman here the past two years, but there was not a slot for him,” he said. And he actually gave up a varsity job to take the middle school coaching job, so he will be very good for those kids.
“When you’ve been in the coaching business 24 years — it’s flattering to have former varsity coaches take middle school jobs to be in your program. I think that speaks to how we do things here, and I’m proud of that.”
Springtown also hired three football assistant coaches at the high school level. Jim Yankie, Christian Davidson and Bradley Bryant join the Pojo staff.
“Yankie was the defensive coordinator on the Porcupines’ state semifinals team when he was here before and was also the defensive coordinator on Aledo’s first state championship football team, in ‘98,” Turner said.
In keeping with the double duty scheme, Davidson will also take over head coaching duties for Lady Pojo varsity soccer.
Springtown also hired Missy Castro, who will be the head coach for girls’ power lifting. Another responsibility split for the genders, John Albritton will remain the boys head coach. Castro will also help out the volleyball and track programs.
Springtown also utilized existing coaches from the middle school to fill some of their needs. Mallory Lunsford came up from the middle school to be an assistant coach for volleyball and softball. Cory Gilley is also sort of a “move-up” as well. He will still coach middle school football and track, but he will also help Coach Rike with the varsity boys basketball team.
“The [Gilley] move is an example of helping fill the gap for our other sports,” Turner said, “where we basically went from four coaches per program to three at the high school level.”
While 2012-13 offers more attractive and equitable schedules and competition for Springtown sports in Class 3A, the funding allotted for the smaller-enrollment schools has yet to equalize, compared with the more populous enrollments. And though he looks to yet another year of Springtown sports with enthusiasm, and the confidence his athletics staff will do what it takes to give their kids the best chance to succeed, Turner feels like the state politicians need to address the funding inequities for the smaller schools.
“Whereas funding has dropped because enrollment in the school district has dropped, the number of kids playing sports has not,” Turner said.