Wildcats fill coaching vacancies in preparation for upcoming school year

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY,News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 17, 2008 - SSISD athletic director Greg Owens has filled out the coaching vacancies at the high school and middle school with the start of football, volleyball, cross country and team tennis practices just a few weeks away.

The hiring of four coaches at the high school and three at the middle school were approved by the SSISD Board of Trustees this summer. All of the new coaches are replacements for ones who have left the district.

"They all seem to have energy and passion and are fired up about going to work," Owens said.

At the high school, new coaches are Derek Smith, David Feaster, Ken Butler and Lesa Darst.

Smith, who worked for Owens in Lindale several years ago, was the defensive coordinator at Rains last season. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, he will coach defensive ends in football and track. He will also teach chemistry.

Feaster is a 25-year coaching veteran, mostly in Louisiana. He was most recently the head coach at Sabine. "He and his wife have five children, and they feel like this is a good place for their family," Owens said. Feaster will coach the offensive linemen in football and freshman softball. He will also teach algebra.

Butler grew up in Mesquite and served as a youth minister for several years. He then got into coaching, most recently in Monroe, La. He will coach freshmen football, JV basketball and teach history.

Darst has been the head girls basketball coach at Greenville and Caddo Mills, and will be an assistant coach here. She and her family live at Lake Fork. She will teach biology and PE.

Also in the transition, Charlie Coker, who has been a coach at the middle school for two years, will now coach freshmen football.

At the middle school, three new coaches were hired. They include Craig McFarlin, Chris Frisby and Adam Byrd.

McFarlin is the son of Whitehouse head coach Randy McFarlin. Owens coached against the younger McFarlin when he was a multi-sport player at Daingerfield. He went to Oauchita Baptist, where he was the Tigers' punter. He will teach PE at the middle school.

Frisby, a native of Crockett, is getting his first coaching job. He will teach health.

This will also be Byrd's first public school coaching job, though he has coached a club baseball team at TCU, and has gone to Europe to play and coach for several years. He will teach history.

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