Even before official word of their hire got out Monday, Les Goad and Bruce Salmon spent an hour at Lehman High’s cafeteria playing the role of a politician.
They greeted athletes and parents, and were flooded with questions about who they are and what they’re all about.
Such a position wasn’t a new one for the duo, who currently operate as athletic directors at schools in Guadalupe County.
Instead, both relished the chance to show future parents and athletes how they plan to lead Hays CISD athletics, which was made official via a 7-0 vote from Hays CISD’s board of trustees.
Goad, who was hired to lead Hays High, lauded the tradition he now inherits. Goad, who was previously the athletic director and head football coach at Geronimo Navarro, a Class 4A powerhouse near Seguin, becomes only the fourth head football coach and athletic coordinator to lead the Rebel program in its 51-year history.
“With the growth that’s happened, it’s a great opportunity and a great challenge, but the history Hays has presented provides a great opportunity,” Goad said. “I’m proud to be a part of it.”
For Salmon, taking over at Lehman High offers the chance to shape the program’s future. Salmon also understands the need to ensure stability in a program that will have its second head football coach and athletic coordinator in as many years.
“There is a lot of potential at Lehman and that’s something we’re excited about,” Salmon said. “The program we’re bringing in is a mix of resources that are here. I’m excited to meet with the kids.
Salmon said making the transition would be a key point of focus for him and the Lobo program. One of his first plans of action will be to “put a period” on what’s been a tumultuous start to 2018 for the campus.
“We want to build a plan with the community and kids and resources, so we aren’t having to reinvent the wheel, but at the same time, we’re in a spot to move forward and continuous improvement.”
On the field, Salmon said he plans to employ a similar style of play that was successful at Marion High. During his five years at Marion, a Class 2A school in Gonzales County, Salmon led the Bulldog program to a 31-25 record and a district title in 2017. Salmon also led to the program to the postseason in four out of his five seasons.
Utilizing a balanced offense and sound defense will be the goal, along with putting the “right guys in the right positions.”
Building confidence across all sports is an additional priority, which Salmon said starts with the strength and condioning program.
“We want to be able to have kids not only perform, but also be safe as they go through their sports,” Salmon said.
Goad said he plans to bring the same fundamentals and core values he established at Navarro High.
Those values helped him guide the program to five district titles, 128 wins and 10 playoff appearances in 11 years, including a run to the Class 4A state semifinal in 2016.
Goad did so by utilizing a run-first approach, which included incorporation of the Slot-T formation.
While he plans to establish his style of success, Goad also aims to maintain the culture of winning at Hays.
“Hays has that winning tradition and history. Those are the kind of things we’ll build on,” Goad said.
Making the jump to the 6A level, however, did not faze either man, both of whom have coached at 5A and 6A programs during the course of their careers.
Goad said while the numbers are different, it does allow both coaches access to a larger roster and coaching staff.
But for Goad, fundamentals are fundamentals and “football is football.”
“There are a lot of differences based on numbers, but the fundamentals are still the same,” Goad said.
Salmon said working at a smaller district offers the chance to learn more about the administrative process.
“We’ve seen the process all the way through. We’re super excited about that,” Salmon said.
An official start date has not been set for Goad or Salmon at this time.
Correction: In our print edition, we incorrectly reported Bruce Salmon and Les Goad coaching at schools in Gonzales County. The coaches had previously led schools in Guadalupe County. We apologize for the error.