Travis Pride isn’t coming to Trophy Club Byron Nelson to overhaul the football program. He wants to advance what Brian Polk started.
Approved by the Northwest ISD school board late Thursday, Pride moves north from Mansfield Summit, where he excelled in seven seasons. He is the second head football coach and athletic coordinator in Nelson’s history.
Pride succeeds Brian Polk, who left in December to become an assistant athletic director with the University Interscholastic League. Polk directed Nelson to the playoffs three times in six seasons.
Pride, 47, met with the athletic coaching staff and most of the players in the football program on Friday when he began his new assignment. He plans on having spring football. Dates have not have finalized.
“There’s kind of a balance in life,” Pride said. “In this business, some of the best coaches are very competitive. Everybody wants to be the best. I had a great thing in Mansfield. It was an excellent school district.
“At some point, there was a comparison. Byron Nelson had that extra where there was a bit of an opportunity to get to the next level and compete for state championships. There’s a lot of great things going on. There’s the commitment and resources.”
Pride built and maintained at Summit. He went 49-31 and guided the Jaguars to the postseason in five seasons. The 2015 Jaguars went 10-2 but lost to Longview, 21-20, in the area round of the Class 5A Division Region I playoffs.
That followed a 16-17 mark in three seasons at Wichita Falls. Pride also has coached in college at Wyoming and Houston. Pride made a name for himself in the high school coaching circuit when he served as Todd Dodge’s offensive coordinator at Southlake Carroll in the early 2000s.
The no-huddle, up-tempo offense he learned there and has used wherever he has coached will be incorporated at Nelson. Bobcat defenses will likely base out of the 3-4.
“From the early point of playing or coaching, the one common denominator depends on the athleticism you have on the field,” Pride said. “It has nothing to do with what offense and defense you play. It’s really about how the kids play the game. That’s with discipline, effort and tenacity.”
Pride walks into the job not knowing who he’ll play next season in district. Realignment is set for release on Monday. With Nelson the only 6A school in the NISD, it could go anywhere. Verbal agreements are in place for a non-district schedule. However, Nelson and Justin Northwest have agreed to play each other. Northwest is moving down to Class 5A for the next two years.
“Nothing is broken at Byron Nelson,” Pride said. “I’m not going to clean house. I left for a better opportunity. This place is in great shape. My objective is to make it better.”
Nelson offensive coordinator Byron Bode had served as the interim head coach after Polk’s departure. It’s unclear if he will remain with Pride’s staff or explore other opportunities.