Coaching Change Part of a Bigger Issue

Mansfield Summit gets new coach who escaped a bad situation.

Mansfield Summit just got itself a good football coach with some serious skins on the wall. And if I'm Travis Pride, I can't be happier with the fact that I'm changing ZIP codes.

In three seasons at Wichita Falls, which shares a district with the three Denton schools, Little Elm and The Colony, Pride compiled a 16-17 record, including a 3-7 record in 2008 -- the Coyotes' worst record in 11 seasons.

Summit went 3-7 last season as well, but at least Pride will know what he's working with once he gets to Mansfield.

Here's the deal: In Wichita Falls, they have what they call a "choice plan" set-up, where kids can choose where they want to attend high school when they reach the ninth grade. You either go to Wichita Falls Rider, which is a perennial football power, or you go to Wichita Falls.

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As Nick Gholson said in his Feb. 27 column in the Wichita Falls Times Record News, "Travis Pride -- as a head football coach -- was a good hire for Wichita Falls High. If only he could have hired a good recruiting coordinator to bring with him." And Gholson would know, he's a Wichita Falls graduate and has been in the city his entire working life (since 1972).

Essentially, when kids enter the ninth grade, coaches go and give them their speech to sell the program in what is actually called a "choice recruiting period" -- a recruting period in high school football? Ridiculous.

Pride will not be taking over any better of a program when he comes to Summit, but he'll be able to work with kids and start evaluating them when they begin middle school, knowing they will be his.

It's hard to argue that Pride doesn't have the potential to be a great coach. He was the offensive coordinator in 2004 and 2005 for current North Texas coach Todd Dodge when he was at Southlake Carroll, when the Dragons won consecutive Class 5A state titles. He will likely install Carroll's spread offense at Summit. He also was an assistant coach at the college level at Wyoming and Houston.

Adam Boedeker is a sports writer/blogger for the Denton Record-Chronicle. He just bought his ticket to Cape Cod for a summer vacation.

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