By GREG WEBB
After Reid Waller stepped down from the head football coach position for the Weatherford Kangaroos last December, Weatherford ISD was tasked with finding a replacement who, with eyes wide open, would take on the mission of turning around a program in a tough situation.
The Roos have experienced very tough gridiron competition in a talented district, and are guaranteed the same calibre of opposition, at least for another year, until the UIL realignment reshuffles the deck.
But WISD Executive Athletic Director Richard Scoggin is quick to remind that, whoever Weatherford lines up against, they have to be dealt with, and the intent is not to end the season with just the district schedule.
“This area, and the district we are in was a big selling point for all of the coaches we interviewed,” Scoggin said of the search for the right coach to take over the Weatherford football program. “They all knew what the challenges are, who we play against, and they wanted to be here.”
The numbers prove up the amount of interest the vacated position generated among the coaching fraternity.
“I would have been disappointed if we had received anything less than 75 [applications responding to the opening],” Scoggin said, “so getting more than 100 was a little bit of a surprise.
“But that shows the interest that Weatherford, and this particular job, has generated. There are people who want to be here, and certainly want to be successful here.
“We were naturally very happy with, not only the number of applicants we had, but even happier with the quality of the responses.”
The Weatherford ISD selection committee was so impressed with the quality of the resumes submitted, they fudged a bit on the prospective number of interviews to consider in their second-pass process.
“We actually brought back eight coaches for a second interview,” Scoggin said. “That was a few more than we originally intended, but we really had quality people applying for the position, and wanted to make sure we had the right one.
“And I believe everyone was on board with the final choice and ready to make it happen. It worked out for us.”
The Weatherford ISD tendered its offer to Weldon Nelms, which was accepted by the coach who has won a pair of state championships while at Wimberley, a Class 3A program.
Nelms has compiled a 237-111-3 record in his 29 years as a head coach, also coaching at Springlake-Earth, Rotan, Iowa Park and Glen Rose.
Scoggin believes that Nelms has the right approach to instilling the desire in the Weatherford kids. And Nelms will likely have a larger base of athletes to develop.
“I think Class 5A is a natural draw for coaches.” Scoggin said. “Weldon has coached at just about every classification, if not all of them, except 5A.
“And Coach Nelms is not one of those who is just going to be happy coaching at this level. He wants to win _ expects to win _ at this level, just like he has everywhere else.”
Nelms will be bringing some familiar help with him, as he inserts the schemes into the Roo program that have netted success in his career. Scoggin explained that bringing a pair of coaches was part of the deal discussed with all of the interviewed coaches.
“There are two coaches that have been part of Nelms’ staff in the past, who will coming on board,” he said. “They will be joining us on Feb. 25, and will fill defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator positions.
“We are certainly ready to get them here, as well. Coach Nelms has worked with both of these coaches and obviously has a lot of faith in their abilities.”
Scoggin, a relative newcomer to the WISD, will hit his 1-year mark as Athletic Director later this spring, but already bears tendencies of a long-lived desire to take Weatherford athletics to the next step.
“From my own standpoint, I am so excited about this step for Weatherford,” he said. “Coach Nelms’ attitude coming in here is just great. He has spoken to our kids and conveyed to them that it’s not just him, and that there is no magic potion to get where we want to be.
“He told the kids it’s “we,” going forward.
“This is a good move for Weatherford ISD, and for Weatherford, TX.”
Nelms officially began his Weatherford tenure earlier this week and , according to Scoggin, has ‘hit the ground running’ to prepare for the development of the football program now under his tutelage.
The first regular-season kickoff in that late-August night for 2013 is yet several months away. And while being a span the new coach will certainly savor in preparation, one that also creates growing anticipation, WISD’s Exec AD included.
“A guy like Weldon, who has experienced a good deal of success — they certainly want to continue that success,” Scoggin said. “He has that desire for Weatherford. He’s not worried about who we’re up against, nor the schedule. That is the mind set he will endeavor to instill in our kids.
And we have kids here that can win.”