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El Paso coach hired to helm Lobo athletics

A look to far west Texas is where Hays CISD found Lehman High’s next athletic coordinator and head football coach. 

On Thursday, Lehman High principal Denisha Presley announced the hiring of Joshua Kirkland as the school’s athletic coordinator and head football coach, according to a Hays CISD press release. Kirkland is currently the athletic coordinator and head football coach at El Paso Parkland High. 

The announcement came after the Hays CISD board of trustees hired Kirkland during a special called meeting May 3. 

Kirkland, who was hired out of a pool of 75 applicants, takes over the job after Todd Raymond left to become the athletic director at Pflugerville ISD in late March. 

“We are all impressed with his coaching and leadership qualifications, as well as his passion for character development,” Presley said in the release. “He is going to be an outstanding addition to our Lobo family.”

Kirkland, who is originally from the Lubbock area, describes himself as an “educational leader through athletics who emphasizes character building,” according to the release. 

In 2016, Kirkland was hired at EP Parkland and led the Matador football team to an 8-4 record and a first round playoff appearance. Under Kirkland, Parkland led the state in rushing yards (3,924 rushing yards according to MaxPreps) and was third in total offense (6,351 total yards), according to a letter written by Kirkland to Lobo fans via lobonation.com

As athletic coordinator, academic retention increased by 27 percent in all athletic programs, while seven players signed on to college scholarships, Kirkland said. 

Kirkland said he is excited to be a part of Hays CISD and he expects to “hit the ground running” with all sports as the school moves into summer workouts. 

“My philosophy of structure and discipline can help the Lobos roar, restore, and surpass the prestige and tradition that is Lehman Football,” said Kirkland in the district’s release. “It is my belief if you reach a student’s heart, and focus on character and the integrity, then wins will follow on the field.”

Prior to becoming athletic coordinator at Parkland, Kirkland coached at high schools in Bryan, Houston and in Baton Rouge, Louis. 

“Mr. Kirkland is a known leader with proven skills in the rebranding of athletic programs, creating partnerships between the school district and national corporate sponsors, and leading students in academic and character achievement,” said Hays CISD Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Elaine Howard.

Kirkland holds a Bachelor of Science and Exercise Science from West Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in Education, with a specialty in Teacher Leadership and Coaching from Grand Canyon University. 

“It is my desire to create an athletic culture at Lehman that not just wins, but will create better men and women,” Kirkland said on lobonation.com. “We will focus on character first in all programs, using athletics as a way to prepare you children for life after graduation.” 

A start date at Lehman High has not been determined for Kirkland. A meet-and-greet with Kirkland is scheduled for Monday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lehman High cafeteria. 

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