Grapevine Courier

March 17, 2014

Major tremors in the local coaching landscape

The Lonnquist Notes We predicted in this space that there would likely be some coaching turnover this year. We had no idea there would be so much.

For the first column of 2014, I wrote about the five stories to watch for the upcoming year and touched on how one of them would be about watching for the big coaching name to step down or leave to take another position.

I just wasn’t anticipating an avalanche through the first two months. We’ve had some serious and shocking turnover.

Dayna Horak is done as Justin Northwest’s volleyball coach. Arthur Stanfield was fired as Carroll’s volleyball coach. Dave Henigan left Grapevine to become the new football coach at Denton Guyer. Tim McCune decided he was done coaching baseball at Grapevine and just left the school after the fall semester in December.

Now, Colleyville Heritage head football coach Mike Fuller may be the next to go. He’s a finalist to become the head coach and athletic director at Decatur.

It reminds me a line in the movie Broadcast News when Albert Brooks’ character Aaron Altman – a Network News reporter – talks to his bureau chief about some massive changes coming to the network’s news division.

With all of the uncertainty they are discussing, the bureau chief looks at him and says, “there’s a recklessness in the air.”

There really is, and now it’s getting to the point where you ask who is next. In the 23 years of being around this area, I can’t remember one where you had so many landmark names either leave the industry or learning that something else led to their departure.

In the Stanfield and Henigan cases, you understand why. Stanfield was in a toxic situation. Henigan couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go to an elite football program.

With Fuller, if he winds up going to Wise County, you can understand a couple of good reasons for this. First, he would draw a better salary with the AD title and have more control in a one-town district. It’s going to be Class 4A (formerly 3A) but he’s coached at the highest level in high school athletics for parts of three decades. Outside of winning a state championship, what more does he have to do? He took Colleyville Heritage to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons. That’s impressive.

Then there’s the school moving into a district where Carroll and Euless Trinity sit. That doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Fuller has already had to deal with Trinity for the last six years. It gets a little tiresome. Then there’s facing your old employer Coppell on the other side. That might be a little awkward.

If he were to move forward, more power to him. If he stays, then new GCISD athletic director Phil Blue just exhaled in relief.

Maybe this is just one of those years where the cyclical nature of the coaching industry turned. It simply could be time for them to move on and some new blood of coaches to show what they can offer.

If you think about it, we really had not had any major shakeups in several prior seasons outside of a baseball coach here or a basketball coach there. We’ve had nothing in football since Carl Stralow took over at Keller in 2012.

You can spin these lengthy coaching tenures any way you want. Stability breeds consistency. It can also breed staleness.

If you’re a good coach, you’re a good coach. Your way works. Your players respond to you.

But this movement also reminds us that nothing is forever.

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