By Kathi Bliss
In what is becoming an all-too-familiar biennial event, the Lockhart Independent School District announced this week that Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator Paul Kilby would be stepping down.
“On Friday, March 1, 2013 … Kilby accepted the head football coach /athletic director position in the Sweeny ISD,” said a short statement released by LISD Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra on Saturday. The Sweeny ISD Board of Trustees gave Kilby the nod in a unanimous vote on Thursday evening.
In his two years at the helm of the Lion Football Program, Kilby parlayed the simple concept of “building men for others” into a burgeoning athletic program that grew not only in its win record, but in its sheer numbers, and in its pride.
“In all my years of coaching, this is really one of the most fun group of kids I’ve ever worked with,” Kilby said Tuesday morning. “They are great kids, and right now, they’re poised to take their game to the next level. There are great things happening at the Junior High level, and the Freshmen had a good year. This program is really ready to take a step forward.”
That step forward began this year.
After struggling during his first year with a 1-9 record during his first season, Kilby’s varsity program rebounded in 2012, stretching to a 6-4 season record, with the Lions going undefeated at home.
The success of last season led some to speculate that an unseen rift had developed in the Lion Athletic Department, and it was that rift that led to Kilby’s decision to accept the job at Class 3A Sweeny High.
Kilby scoffed at the speculation.
“When it comes right down, I wanted to be back in a position as an Athletic Director,” he said. “That’s the career path that I’ve chosen, and when the opportunity to do that came knocking, I had to answer.”
Regardless, the fact remains that Kilby is the fourth straight head coach to part ways with LISD after two seasons.
Kilby will step into his new position at Sweeny High on March 18, immediately after Spring Break. Friday will be his last day at Lockhart High.
It will be a bittersweet moment.
“I really can’t say enough about these kids, about this community, and about this school district,” he said. “I thank everyone so much for their support… the kids, the parents, the community, the administration… Everyone here has just been so great.”
LISD has named Mark Brown as Interim Head Coach, pending the identification of a new head coach at a later time.
“Coach Brown will provide stability, consistency, and a clear focus on student-athlete development during the football program’s transition,” Parra’s written statement said.
“He’s a great man, and I think this is a great move for the kids,” he said.
LISD Athletic Director Sheila Henderson praised Kilby on Tuesday afternoon.
“We thank Coach Kilby for his belief in our students and pushing them to be successful in every endeavor,” she said. “We wish him well as he moves on to pursue other opportunities.”
We thank him, and wish him well, indeed.