Seven seasons, 98 wins, four state championships.
When Todd Dodge left Southlake Carroll after the 2006 state-championship season to accept the head coaching position at North Texas, he left behind enormous shoes to fill.
Head coaching record: 190-95-2 in 25 seasonsHonors: 2011 MaxPreps National Coach of The Year Notable: Wasson, a graduate of Kerens High School near Corsicana, was a member of Abilene Christian's 1977 NAIA Division I national championship football team. He was an all-conference punter in 1978.
He also left behind his son, Riley, the Dragons' starting quarterback and senior-to-be.
Early the next year a six-person committee of Carroll board members selected Keller Fossil Ridge coach Hal Wasson from a pool of 28 other applicants.
"Hal was definitely my choice," Dodge said.
Wasson had worked for Dodge as an assistant from 2000 to 2002, but Wasson admits he wasn't prepared for the pressure he would unknowingly put on himself .
"When I walked in the building at Southlake all I heard was state playoff run and getting to the state championship," Wasson said. "I'm sitting there thinking 'Wow, we haven't even played a game and here we are talking about a state championship.'"
Instead, Carroll went 11-2 in 2007 and 8-3 in 2008 under Wasson.
Having watched the pressure his father endured, Riley Dodge could relate to what Wasson was dealing with.
"The community as a whole expects nothing short of a state championship every year, which is completely unrealistic, but that's what makes Southlake such a special place," the younger Dodge said. "It puts a ton of pressure on the head coach."
The Dragons even fell out of the state Top 10 in '08, ending a string of 69 consecutive weeks.
"It took me a couple of years to change my mindset within myself," said Wasson. "The first couple of years, I didn't feel like I got us to the ultimate goal.
"But I realized no one can make me feel that way; that I control how I feel and that's something I learned from my dad, every day was a good day to him no matter what."
Wasson grew up in the tiny east Texas town of Kerens. His father, Homer, was a cotton farmer by day and Little League coach by night.
""He was never a follower," said Homer Wasson, 83, and still on his farm in Kerens. "Hal was always someone that made his own decisions."
Hal Wasson would go on to play college football for Navarro College and Abilene Christian. It was there that he realized he was meant to coach.
In 2009 Wasson hired his younger brother Tim to assist the defense, ultimately taking over as defensive coordinator.
"We are both very competitive individuals who want to win," Tim Wasson said. "My brother's got my back and I've got his and that's the way it's always been."
By August 2010, Carroll had one returning starter.
"We were having some offensive issues and I inserted our sophomore backup quarterback, just to try to provide a spark," Hal Wasson said. "All the sudden our offense came to life."
The sophomore's name? Kenny Hill.
The Dragons returned to glory in 2011, riding the legs and arm of Hill to an undefeated 16-0 season and adding the school's eighth state championship, tying Celina with the most titles for any 11-man program in state history.
Wasson would go on to win the 2011 Max Preps National Coach of the Year award for his team's undefeated season.
Wasson has this year's team aimed at another state title.
The Dragon's face DeSoto (13-0) in the Region I Final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ford Stadium on the SMU campus.
"We have a huge challenge, Desoto is very well coached and they are explosive," Wasson said.
"But we know who we are and we are very confident in that. My dad always instilled a great confidence in me, he told me if you aren't confident in yourself, believe me, no one else will be."
Will his father make the trip to Dallas for Saturday's game?
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," Homer Wasson said. "I just enjoy being with my sons."
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