Bill Poe gets a second chance to be a head football coach in Texas. And he’s probably in a better position to succeed as opposed to where he was for his first assignment.
On April 14, the Northwest ISD approved the 37-year-old to take over the Justin Northwest football program. It is Poe’s opportunity to capitalize on the momentum Bill Patterson created over the last five seasons.
“The foundation Bill had with this program is right there,” Poe said. “You’ve seen the steady progression. When I looked into the program, I could feel there was a chance to continue that growth. When you go 8-3 in the last two years, you have something good going on.”
And if that last name of Poe sounds familiar, then it should. Bill is the son of Ron Poe, who enjoyed a legendary career in McKinney for decades. So the younger Poe is a football lifer.
Plus, you can’t have a Poe without Todd Dodge being nearby. The former Carroll coach, who is now coaching in Marble Falls, use to work with Ron. The turnaround came over the last two years when Bill worked for Dodge as his offensive coordinator.
What the Northwest community has immediately learned and will continue to learn about Poe is that he is a 180-degree change from Patterson. Patterson’s no-nonsense approach had to kickstart this program in the right direction.
Poe will be direct, but maybe use a little more of an understanding tone. There is no absolute style that every successful coach should follow. But there is time in a program’s development where a certain personality is needed.
Patterson was the right fit when he arrived. Poe may be the right one for this era. Above all, the bottom line is whether a coach can reach his players and extract the best.
“I would say I’m more of a direct guy,” Poe said. “My big phrase is to make sure we’re doing the right thing at the right time. Mistakes are going to be made. But we also know that it’s not the end of the world. I believe in second chances and giving the kids the opportunity.”
Poe’s first coaching stop at Longview Spring Hill didn’t go as planned. Playing in a district that featured powers in Carthage and Henderson and always in Longview High School’s shadow, he went 6-14.
He shouldn’t have that problem at Northwest. A quarterback is in place in Jesse Drummer, who will thrive in the new spread offense. There are other important skill players returning as well as those on the offensive and defensive lines. Defensive looks should be built around multiple fronts.
But the challenge will be just as great in the new District 5-6A, which will feature two-time 4A Division I state champion Denton Guyer, 5A state quarterfinalist Denton Ryan and the Keller Schools.
Coaching at Northwest used to be considered a graveyard. Patterson changed that. Now, Poe wants to foster the mindset that making the playoffs isn’t enough. This program is still looking for its first playoff win.
This part of Texas is growing, so the athletic pool should continue to grow. The addition of a third high school in the coming years should not create a negative impact.
But that’s for worrying about later. Poe’s immediate concerns are starting spring football on May 5 (the spring game is set for May 30) and finalizing his coaching staff. Colleyville Heritage offensive coordinator Brad Boyd and Anna assistant Joey Hector were expected to be approved as the new offensive and defensive coordinators at Monday’s school board meeting. Poe also wants to finalize his 7-on-7 teams and summer programs for the linemen.
“As any coach, you have to do your due diligence [on the third high school],” Poe said. “What are the variables and what are the challenges. I was comfortable about that.
“You know that the district is growing. The main thing is to get as much skill development as we can. We’ll instill certain aspects. Just getting down to business is important.”