Hays’ LaHue announces retirement from coaching

After 33 years in coaching, including five spent at Hays High, Neal LaHue Friday announced plans to hang up his whistle.

In a letter to Hays High principal David Pierce, LaHue, who is the current Hays High head football coach and athletic coordinator, intends to retire from public education and coaching when his current contract ends on June 30.

“This has been a very tough decision and one that I have thought about for some time now and I feel very comfortable in this decision,” LaHue said in his letter to Pierce. “I feel very blessed to have been a coach for the last 33 years and am looking forward to new challenges that lie ahead.

Hays Rebel head football coach Neal LaHue directs players at a 2017 practice. (Photo by Moses Leos III)

LaHue said the motivation for announcing his retirement came after “opportunities presented themselves” outside of coaching in public schools.

That decision came after a lot of prayer, soul-searching and discussion with his family, LaHue said.

“I feel like it’s a great time to do it, and that’s what I’m doing,” LaHue said.

LaHue said he announced his retirement in advance, so as to give Hays CISD time to search for the next Hays High football coach and athletic coordinator.

Pierce said in a letter to Hays High parents the position will be posted and a search will begin in the coming weeks. If a new head coach were not hired by June 30, Danny Preuss, Hays High assistant athletic coordinator, would assume Interim Athletic Coordinator duties.

“He (LaHue) has built a solid program, insisted on excellence and been a positive member of the Hays High School community since his arrival. We wish Mr. LaHue and his family all the best as he begins the next chapter in his life,” Pierce said in his statement.

LaHue was hired by Hays CISD in 2013 and has led the Rebel football program to a 25-28 overall record. During his tenure, LaHue led Hays to a 27-4A district championship in 2013 and has twice taken the program to the playoffs.

While as athletic coordinator, LaHue oversaw the Hays High softball team’s state championship in 2013, as well as the Rebel boys basketball team’s trip to the regional finals in 2014.

LaHue began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M Kingsville, where he also played college football.

From there, LaHue continued his career as an assistant coach at Ingleside, Corpus Christi Calallen and then Westlake. While at Westlake, LaHue served as quarterbacks coach and oversaw Drew Brees, who led the Chaps to the 1996 Class 5A state championship.

LaHue served as head football coach at Kerrville Tivy from 1997 to 2001; he then was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M Kingsville from 2002 to 2005.

Prior to his hire at Hays, LaHue served as the head coach at San Antonio Roosevelt from 2006 to 2012.

“Having coached for 33 years, it’s the journey that keeps you in this business,” LaHue said. “You’re trying to mold and develop kids. That’s the thing I’ll take away.”

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