Tolar’s new athletic director isn’t new to Tolar, so he already has ideas for improvements.
Much of his plan has to do with creating higher expectations and “backing the kids.”
Brad Morgan, 38, was previously the school’s head varsity baseball coach, and for the past three years was the princial of Tolar Junior High School. He said not only does he want to see the Rattlers increase their strength and agility “so they can be the most athletic kids out there,” he also wants to increase involvement of parents.
“I want to communicate to the parents more about expectations for the kids and also communicate with the coaches,” said Morgan.
Morgan officially took over athletic director duties from Mike Franklin, who remains head football coach and assistant track coach. The Tolar School Board voted to make the change in late May.
This fall will mark Franklin’s 13th season as head coach. In his second year at Tolar, Franklin had served as co-athletic director for one school year with Bruce Gibbs, who is now Tolar Superintendent. In the 10 years since then, Franklin was the sole AD.
“We want to push every kid in the offseason a lot harder. That started last year, trying to push athletic development,” Morgan said. “We want to increase participation of kids playing multiple sports.”
Morgan also wants to see an increase in parental involvement.
“It’s huge,” Morgan said of the potential impact. “When you get kids to buy in and get parents to buy in and believe what the school is trying to do then you have a good chance of success. When I first came here (in the 2001-2002 school year), the stands were packed – the football stands, the gyms. In the past two or three years it seemed like there was a decline in people at games. Every kid wants to play to a packed house.”
Morgan said that when he first came to Tolar after three years as an assistant football coach at Granbury High School, sometimes the Rattlers would draw more fans at away games than the home teams had.
“That has a big mental affect on the kids,” said Morgan. “We want to get back to that – backing the kids.”
Among the changes made with Tolar’s varsity head coaches, Scotty Miller is now head volleyball coach, and will continue to be an assistant track coach. Miller has had several years experience coaching volleyball at Class A Evant.
Dewayne Wilkins is now head powerlifting coach. He will continue to be an assistant varsity football coach, as well as assistant track coach. Gregg Lee, assistant varsity football coach and head track coach, is also an assistant powerlifting coach now.
Casey Keith has been named head cross country coach, taking over for Benita Carlton, who remains head girls basketball coach.
“I think it will be good,” Morgan said of the changes. “We’ve got some people in positions where they have knowledge and they’ve had success before.”
Morgan said that because the University Interscholastic League approved a new Class 6A division for athletics, Tolar could find itself in Class 3A after the realignment is completed during the coming school year. Those realignment changes, including adding a fourth playoff team for Class 3A and 2A, will take affect in the 2014-2015 school year.
“That’s going to adjust the numbers for everybody,” Morgan said. “We’re still right on the bubble, I think. That’s out of our hands.”
After competing at the Class 2A level for the first time over the past three seasons, Morgan said the student-athletes are ready for the competition.
“I think we’re at the point we know we have the numbers and I think if we can push them and the kids start to step up, no matter what season it is we can step up and compete,” Morgan said. “I think the kids bought into the mentality that we can compete at that level. If we believe in ourselves, they can put us wherever they want to and we’ll compete.”
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