Wildcat football names new coordinators
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

March 7, 2006 - SSHS head football coach Greg Owens took the first steps toward filling his coaching staff Monday night when the SSISD school board hired new offensive and defensive coordinators.

Steve Hale, the defensive coordinator at La Marque for four seasons, was hired at the same position here, while Jeff Riordan, the passing game coordinator for Garland Lakeview Centennial, will take over as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator.

They will both start on March 20, the day students return from spring break.

Along with his coaching duties, Hale will teach health classes, while Riordan will teach TAKS history and physical education.

"I'm excited about working with both of these young men," said Owens, who was hired by the school board in February. "They love kids and love being around athletics, it's meant a lot to them.

"These guys aren't just football guys, they're also great teachers in the classroom.Both of these guys have great ideas we're going to implement into our system."

Both the offensive and defensive coordinator positions were left open when John Albritton and Robert Wallace left to join former head coach Brad Turner in Springtown after Christmas.

Another position also came open this week when head track and assistant football coach Jeramy Burleson announced he is leaving to join the staff at Henderson, where his father-in-law Dickey Meeks was recently hired as head coach/athletic director.

When Hale and Riordan join the staff in two weeks, they will also immediately start working as track coaches. They both have experience there also, Owens said.

Hale has been head track track at La Marque as well as defensive coordinator. La Marque won the Class 4A state football championship in 2003 and have been regional champions all four seasons he has been in charge of the defense. His track teams have won two district championships.

Hale has family in the Brashear area, and that was a motivation to move to East Texas. He previously coached at Hillsboro and Irving Nimitz. He graduated from Hillsboro High School and received a B.S. degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1993.

"Steve is wanting to get to this area because of family, and he has some great credentials," Owens explained. "He has a state championship ring - he knows about winning, he knows about tradition. He's a very solid guy, a very moral guy. He's uptempo, upbeat - that's the kind of people I want, guys who are enthusiastic and love kids and want to be around them.

"Steve has a great pedigree. He comes from a great program with a lot of success, and I'm excited about getting him."

Riordan comes from a background in the spread offense, having been an All-State receiver at Bridgeport under coach Danny Henson. He was a four-year starter at Austin College before graduating in 2001, then was wide receiver coach at Texas A&M-Commerce for a year.

He has been an assistant coach at Lakeview Centennial, a Class 5A program, since 2002.

"Jeff has the opportunity now to be offensive coordinator, which is something he's ready for," Owens said. "He has a sharp mind. He played at Austin College and is a very sharp young man. He knows his stuff."

When the new coaches begin on March 20, they will start implementing their strategies immediately to get ready for spring drills, which are tentatively scheduled to start the last week of April. 

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