By TONY EIERDAM
GORDON – As shocking as the resignation of Gordon head football coach Shane Mallory must have been for Longhorn fans, an equally shocking – yet in a positive manner – occurrence happened Wednesday night at the Gordon ISD board of trustees meeting when the school board approved the hiring of former Richland Springs head football coach Jerry Burkhart.
Burkhart, who has won the past two Division II six-man state championships and five of the past eight was officially hired Wednesday night to succeed Mallory.
Burkhart announced Thursday morning he has resigned to take the head football coach position at Gordon. His final day at Richland Springs will be May 3, and he will begin at Gordon on May 6.
Burkhart, who compiled an impressive 135-5 record at Richland Springs, could not be reached for comment.
However, Burkhart told the Brownwood Bulletin, “I strongly believe God opens and closes doors for you,” he said. “Richland Springs has been awesome, from the community to the fans to the administration to the school board, and especially kids.
“But we’re getting low on kids and budget cuts are happening and I’m at a place in life where I can apply for a job and feel like I have a good shot at getting it.
“I got a phone call from Gordon and everything fell into place. Here, with the way the state is, they’re going to have to make cuts.
“My wife, who is a first grade teacher, and myself both resigned from Richland Springs, so that should free up a lot of money.
“They still have some decisions to make, but they’re going to have an awesome team again next year.
“God has blessed me so much,” Burkhart continued. “(The Richland Springs) program is not about just Jerry Burkhart, it’s been all of us — the coaches, administration, school board and most of all the kids.
“They work so hard and give you all they’ve got. They believe in the program and want to win at everything they do. I’m walking away from a good situation and into a town that’s prideful of a couple of state championships of their own.
“That does make us nervous as a family and I know what the expectations are at Gordon. But it’s exciting to start something new.”
Gordon superintendent Eric Hough said the community and school district are excited about landing a coach with a pedigree as Burkhart’s.
“We are very excited that Coach Burkhart is coming to town,” he said. “He has a history of success, and Gordon has a history of success.
“He will arrive in May so our football players will get a chance to meet him and he will have a chance to settle in before the summer.
“With our returning players and with Coach Burkhart’s arrival, together we expect to do great things.”
In four years at Gordon, Mallory compiled a 25-19 record.
He went 1-9 in his first season in 2009, followed with a 6-4 record in 2010, and in 2011 led the Longhorns to an 8-2 record. Despite the 8-2 mark in 2011, the Longhorns did not qualify for the playoffs.
This past season, Mallory led the Longhorns to a 7-3 mark, including his second straight win over rival Strawn and his first-ever playoff berth as Gordon’s head coach.
The Longhorns rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs, defeating Zephyr, 88-42 in the opening round, downing Savoy, 66-21, in the regional round and defeating Santa Anna, 70-35, in the state quarterfinals.
Gordon fell to Abbott in the state semifinals, 74-60.
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
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- Swimming to State