The end of July always marks the start of the fall sports season.
Helping usher in fall sports is the annual Texas High School Coaches Association Coaching Convention held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention center in downtown San Antonio. This year’s event, which kicked off on Sunday, July 18, was the 89th annual convention and the first in-person convention since 2019. The convention was held virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. THSCA Executive Director Joe Martin said the association was near a record of over 14,000 coaches in attendance. That pales in comparison to the 65 coaches who showed up at the inaugural convention in 1933.
“Obviously, [we’re] extremely excited to be here,” Martin said on Sunday. “We opened this morning at 8 o’clock, thinking there weren’t going to be that many people here. I don’t know if y’all saw that line, but it stretched all the way to West Texas somewhere.”
In attendance were coaches from each of the five school districts within the Pleasanton Express coverage area. With names like the University of Texas football Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban on the long list of presenters, it’s hard not to attend. But area coaches also take the time to network and brainstorm with other coaches throughout the state, some of which they know and others they don’t.
“It’s validation, basically, of what you’re doing,” Pleasanton football Head Coach Stephen Liska said while watching Denton Guyer’s Director of Strength and Conditioning Kyle Keese demonstrate his unique grid pattern for conditioning and improved on-field movement for athletes. Keese’s grid is something Pleasanton incorporated into their offseason workouts this year.
Liska, as well as Offensive Coordinator Chuck Black, took in the demonstration to see if there was anything they could do to improve the implementation of the grid.
“It’s great to see it live,” Liska added. “We’ve seen it on YouTube and read up on it, but the guy’s here demonstrating it.”
Every coach hopes to take at least one thing from the convention that could help them in their program. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fisher’s philosophies at A&M or Hallettsville Head Coach Tommy Psencik imparting knowledge from the tactical side of the game.
“As long as you can pick up one thing from somebody, it’s a good clinic,” Poteet Athletic Director and Head Coach Darby House said. “You’re not necessarily going to get the X’s and O’s because there’s a big difference. Jimbo Fisher, he’s got a corner that runs a 4.3 [40- yard dash]. Well, we don’t. Their safety is 6-foot-2 and they’ve got defensive ends that are 6-5. Can we take that from them? Not realistically. But we can take … pieces here and pieces there, and how they practice, what they use and modify it to the best of our ability.”