VYPE Houston Region
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THE GRILL: Tough Decision, Tough District
June 11, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
By Ahmard Vital
High school coaches make tough decisions on and off the field from calling plays, to disciplining players to changing environments.
“This was tough, professional decision. I thought about it a lot and I prayed a lot. A lot of personal reasons went into it as well.”
Those were the words of the new Klein Forest football coach Barry Abercrombie was started at his new position at Klein ISD after a solid campaign at Hightower. Most recently, the Hurricanes made their way to the Class 5A state title game and fell at the hands of Southlake Carroll at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
But the dawn of a new day started on May 1 when Abercrombie started at his new location. And while it was a move that was professional, it had a lot of personal touches to it as well.
“There were a lot of reasons that I decided to take the job. One of which was location. I grew up in Magnolia and my parents still live there,” Abercrombie said. “This puts me closer to them. I know they enjoy coming out to the games and this will make it much easier for them. Plus, this was not just another job. I spent nine years in Klein ISD, and with Klein Forest, I have a special connection to this place. I use a lot of what I do as a head coach from what I learned at Klein Forest.”
As stated, this was not an easy move for Abercrombie, who had made many connections in Fort Bend County from the administration, the fans, the parents and most importantly, the student-athletes.
In the Hightower community, Abercrombie said that the support was great and that it was a group of people who cared about the athletic programs, who showed that regularly by their support.
With the move all of a sudden, how was this perceived by those who have a strong connection to the Hightower program?
“I went back there a couple of times since I took this job and everything that I have heard has been positive. I appreciate what that community has done for me,” Abercrombie said. “To all of my players, I wish them well. I hated that I had to leave so late, but as I said, this was not just another job. I know that new athletic director (Phillip) O’Neal will work with the principal and do what is best for the kids and the community.”
On the Hightower end of things, this is somewhat of a transitional period. Spring football is still going on as the assistants have been running the program. Whoever is next in line, it will be coach No. 5 in the school’s short history. It opened in 1998 with coach Kevin O’Keefe, followed by Gene Johnson, then Shane Hallmark and Abercrombie was the latest.
And while Hightower clearly has a spot in the heart of Abercrombie, there is a new task at hand at Klein Forest. Sure his system will need to be implemented and he will need to get acclimated to his players coaches and booster members, but after all of that, he will need to make sure his team is ready to take on the gauntlet known as District 13-5A.
“There’s a lot to do here. As far as the district, I feel like I am going to the SEC,” Abercrombie said. “This is one of those districts where you may go 6-4 and not make the playoffs. But when you get into this, you cannot be afraid of high expectations. We are going out each week to compete and win.
“For that to be able to happen, the preparation begins now.”