By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When the 2013-14 school year begins, there will be new faces stalking the sidelines at Agra High School as it hired three new coaches and will soon hire a fourth.
“We still have baseball open,” Joe McElroy, Agra athletics director said. “I hope they can breathe new life into our athletic programs. We did some good things last year.”
Enoch Jackson, who spent the last three seasons as an assistant football coach at Coyle, replaces Mark Bingham as coach for his first head coaching position.
“I’m excited and ready to get going,” Jackson said.
Two seasons ago, Jackson helped lead the Bluejackets to their first playoff appearance and first berth in the rankings. Last season, Jackson helped the Bluejackets to their best record in school history and second straight playoff appearance. The new Agra coach said he learned a lot being on Coyle coach Shane Weathers’ staff.
“(Weathers) showed me you can’t protect against everything,” Jackson said. “There’s always going to be something open. You got to give your opponent multiple looks. I’m sure I will use some of what I learned from Weathers in my system.”
Last season under Bingham, the Bearcats went 5-5 and won the most games in school history, falling just short of a playoff berth. Jackson said he hopes he can build on that, if not take them further.
“I want to keep the program moving in a positive direction,” Jackson said. “I want to get a lot of fundamental work done and increase their knowledge.”
Aaron Norton, who coached at Achille last season, takes over the girls basketball program, replacing Jon Peveler. Norton takes over a Lady Bearcat squad that advanced to regionals and will implement his system.
“I’m hoping to use a more upbeat approach as far as pace of the game,” Norton said. “We are going to rely more on pressure and getting the ball up the court.”
While the Lady Bearcats were a young team last season, they will be more experienced next year and Norton is looking forward to it.
“Having those veteran players will help with their ability because they know what to expect,” Norton said. “They can help our younger players.”
Jessica Hornberger, who taught at Agra Junior High, enters her first year as a coach, taking over the softball program from Peveler.
“I’m really excited about it. The girls have a lot of talent and are ready to get hooked up and win more games.”
Under Peveler, the Lady Bearcats steadily improved the last three seasons and finished 19-14 last season. Hornberger said her team will be young but have a lot of potential.
“We’re going all underclassmen with only two or three seniors,” Hornberger said. “They have a lot of potential and just need to work on the fundamentals.”
At Frontier High School, boys basketball coach Bob Weckstein hopes to continue the success of the girls basketball program as he will lead both teams next season. Weckstein replaces Clay Stephens, who left to take the job at Stillwater and led the Lady Mustangs to three state titles. Weckstein said he was the first one called.
“The superintendent called and asked me if I would be willing to do it,” Weckstein said. “I said yes. They are good girls and have a good program.”
Weckstein has been successful as well, leading the Mustangs to three straight Class A state championships from 2004-2006. He said it will be different leading both teams but it’s the same sport.
“I will have to be a little more organized with practice plans and schedule every detail,” Weckstein said. “It ain’t rocket science, it isn’t open heart surgery, it’s just basketball. It will be fun.”
The Lady Mustangs only return one starter from their state quarterfinal team that went 23-6 last season — senior post Marissa Goodman, who averaged 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds. Weckstein said his team has plenty of talent.
“We got some good young ones coming up,” Weckstein said. “We have a good group returning that aren’t starters.”
The Cushing Tigers will have a new boys basketball coach as Prague’s David Day replaces retired coach Bob Tanner. Day said the proximity to his family played a key role.
“My father-in-law lives there and it gives my children a chance to have a relationship with him,” Day said. “(Athletic Director) Barry Patterson and Koln Knight have a great vision for the school and athletics.”
Day said his system will depend on the personnel but hopes to run a fast-paced offense.
“I like to go up and down the court,” Day said. “I hate zone but ran it last year. I’m more of a full court man-to-man defense.”
The Tigers return three starters — Drew Wilson, Jai Conley and Keegan Myers. Day said the experience is great but expects there to be a learning curve.
“We have a lot of guys that are in football,” Day said. “We are going to have to run sets and get those guys open shots.”