Some call it a sweet science. Others equate it to throwing a dart on a map.
Anyway you slice it, high school coaches across the area Thursday discovered how the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment and reclassification process will affect their programs.
For Hays CISD, road trips to Cedar Park and Leander will become a thing of the past.
According to the new alignment, Hays and Lehman athletics were placed in a nine-team 25-6A district that features a handful of central and south Austin area schools.
The new district is reminiscent of the old 14-6A, of which Hays and Lehman were a part of in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
John Proud, who is operating as the interim head football coach at Lehman, said realignment went “amazingly well.”
Proud said learning of a new district is an exciting experience, as coaches don’t always know what to expect.
While predictions of a new district may be partially accurate, coaches must prepare for whatever happens.
“You have a chance to be in a completely different district,” Proud said. “It’s always exciting during realignment.”
Neal LaHue, current Hays High athletic coordinator and head football coach, said realignment day is often a “feeding frenzy” once new district packets are handed out at 9 a.m.
Coaches use realignment day to try and focus on solidifying their team’s non-district schedule on the football side.
Based on how districts are realigned, coaches may have to add, or even subtract, non-district games for their teams, in order to accommodate for their new districts.
“You can schedule to get wins, or you can schedule to prepare for district,” LaHue said.
Strategy also plays a role in how coaches prepare for realignment and its aftermath.
LaHue, who plans to retire in June, opted not to take part in the realignment process for Hays High this year.
However, LaHue did choose to send his assistants to area realignment pickup sites in Round Rock and San Antonio. Proud also said he had coaches spread out at both sites.
The goal was to ensure enough bodies are in place to accommodate for the district a program is placed.
“Last time, I was kind of surprised by what occurred. We thought we were going south, so we had people in San Antonio, but not in Round Rock,” LaHue said. “W ewanted to make sure we had people in both places.”