GOLDTHWAITE, Texas (KWTX) Prior to Keith Virdell taking over as head coach of the Goldthwaite Eagles this season, a man with the last name of Proffitt had been the head coach every year since the mid-1980s.
From 1986-2012, Gary Proffitt led Goldthwaite to three state championships -- back-to-back titles in the 1993-94 seasons, and then again in 2009.
Ten years after the school's most recent championship, the Eagles went 1-9 and had one of their worst seasons since going winless in 2002. Virdell takes over the program after coming over from the Sudan Hornets, who posted a 9-2 record a season ago.
"Goldthwaite's a town, a community, a tradition that I've known about my whole life," Virdell said. "It's something I've always known about. Thanks to Mr. Wright and Mr. Hollingsworth for allowing me to be here.
"I got here right here at the end of school, the last week of school, just barely enough time to shake the kids' hands and then they were off for the summer. Right now during two-a-days, everything is new. We're new to the kids, they're new to us, (and) right now is a learning curve for everybody."
The Eagles dealt with low numbers on the varsity last year. Whether or not that's an issue again, the Eagles will be a run-first team and roll the clock as much as they can.
"Defensively, we're just going to keep it simple," Virdell said. "We've come up with a good base defense that all the kids are familiar with. It's not about being simple, it's about the kids knowing. If the kids know what they're doing on the snap of the ball, then they're going to play confident, they're going to play faster and that's what we're after."
Virdell was also quick to say that the work ethic and respect he wants to help teach his athletes will also translate to their personal lives.
"The longer I do this, the more I feel like I can use the game of football and athletics to teach our kids how to be good husbands and fathers as they grow up," Virdell said. "I truly believe the things that you teach to get them to do that, are the same things that will make a good football player, and those are the things that we are focusing on."
Goldthwaite opens the season Friday, August 30, with a home game against Winters leading up to three straight road games.