By TONY EIERDAM
Who says the summer isn’t busy in high school sports?
Three big Mineral Wells High School coaching moves – including two in football – head the list of moves made by the staff in recent weeks.
The biggest news was in football concerns Rams Defensive Coordinator Chad Barron, who has taken the position as head coach at Baird, where he graduated high school and played for the Bears.
Last year, Baird did not qualify for the Class A, Division II playoffs.
MWISD athletic director/head football coach Chuck Lawrence said he is excited for Barron, who came to MWHS last year form Millsap.
“Chad did a great job as defensive coordinator, and he told me one of the reasons he left Millsap was to come here as the DC which he felt would help him become a head coach,” Lawrence said. “A head coaching opportunity came about in his hometown of Baird, and although we hate to lose him I certainly understand him wanting a promotion and I wish him all the best.
“Coach Barron took over last year and made some positive changes, and his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game was tremendous.
“His enthusiasm carried over to our kids, and he also did a great job as our powerlifting coach this year.
“I wish him the best in going home to Baird.”
Lawrence will hire from within to replace Barron.
Rams assistant football coach Neil Messler, who Lawrence hired four years ago, has been named the Rams new Defensive Coordinator.
Messler has risen through the MWISD athletic ranks quickly.
He started out as defensive coordinator at the junior high, and two years ago was promoted to the high school as head freshman football coach and assistant varsity basketball coach.
Last year, Lawrence promoted Messler to the varsity staff as a defensive backfield coach.
“I hired Neal four years ago, and I knew then he would be a tremendous up-and-coming young coach,” Lawrence said. “I am on the defensive side of the ball and I will mentor him, but he did a great job at the end of the spring when we knew Chad was leaving, and we are very excited about Neil becoming the new Defensive Coordinator.
“Neil studies the game of football, he is enthusiastic, and his defensive philosophy is on the same line as mine.
“It is time for Neil to move up and accept a bigger challenge and responsibility.”
Lawrence has one more football assistant coach hire.
Assistant coach Ron Young, a defensive line coach, announced his retirement.
Lawrence is in the process of hiring Young’s replacement.
Football, however, is not the only sport at MWHS with coaching changes.
In a surprise resignation that was announced at the June 11 MWISD board of trustees meeting, Lady Rams head basketball coach Ed Shelstead, who came to Mineral Wells as a first-time varsity head coach, resigned to become an assistant coach at Granbury.
Last season, the Lady Rams finished third in District 6-3A and reached the third round of the Class 3A playoffs.
The Lady Rams won seven games the season before Shelstead came and were 24-10 in his lone year at MWHS.
“My family and I are thankful to many of the families in Mineral Wells,” Shelstead said. “We tried to do our absolute best to be a positive force for the community.”
On Wednesday, Lawrence said he is still interviewing candidates for the head girls’ basketball coaching position.
“Hopefully, we will make a decision quickly,” Lawrence said. “I am still interviewing candidates.”