Sims completes changes to coaching staff
by Kevin Hamilton
Iowa Park Athletic Director Aubrey Sims has been a busy camper these past few months, recruiting talent to fill eight coaching vacancies, and searching for ways to finalize ... internally and externally ... positions that became vacant with departures including his top assistants and the resignation of longtime coach David Fuhrman.
Near the end of the previous school year, Sims said goodbye to Offensive Coordinator Rick Weaver and Defensive Coordinator Mark Zimmer after both accepted similar situations at Class 5A Weatherford. And Furhman, who had success as both head baseball coach and more recently as head tennis coach at Iowa Park High School, resigned at the end of the school year.
The Hawks’ success on the football field in Sims’ three seasons here opened the door for eager recruiters.
“We had a lot of openings this offseason,” the Hawk coach said this week. When you are successful, it opens up opportunities and I’m very happy for those coaches that were able to better their situations.
“Success has also allowed us to have better applicants, and I’m very pleased with the coaches we were able to get to Iowa Park. I also believe that we have hired some great teacher/coaches that will also do a great job in the classroom.”
Sims noted that his biggest challenge was replacing Weaver and Zimmer. For that, he is promoting some of his current staff, including naming Tino Acosta and Michael Swenson as Co-Defensive Coordinators.
“The changes in offenses the past few years has made me rethink the way we game plan teams,” Sims said. “Having a coach responsible for the run game, pass rush and adjustments in the box led me to assign Coach Acosta to the front side of our defense.
“Acosta has coached with me for 11 years and will do a great job. Swenson will continue on as our secondary coach, but in a much more important role. He will be in charge of meshing our secondary with our linebackers, and making adjustments in the way we attack teams.”
Also on defense, Malachi Naef will move to inside linebackers. New coach Heath Taylor will coach outside linebackers. Payton Jackson has been re-assigned to coach junior high football.
On the offensive side of the ball, Gary Green has been promoted to Offensive Coordinator.
“Gary has a good understanding of my offense, and has made a big difference in game planning this past season,” Sims remarked. “After coaching with Rick Weaver for 12 years, I feel very confident turning over the offense to someone new.”
Green will be assisted by new coach Scot Boswell, who served the past eight years as head football coach at Burkburnett. Both coaches will be in charge of the offensive line.
“Coach Boswell brings lots of experience, and I am very happy with the opportunity to coach with him.”
Current coach Mark Wynn will move to receivers, and Sims will continue coaching quarterbacks and runningbacks.
“Football season will be here before we know it, and I’m ready to get started. The athletes had a great offseason, and are working hard this summer.”
In addition to his new position as Co-Defensive Coordinator, Acosta will also serve as head girls track coach.
Replacing Weaver and Zimmer in the powerlifting program will be Jackie Wuthrich and Naef.
Taking over the IPHS tennis program is former Rider coach Ryan Gillen. He will be assisted by former IPHS standout Sean Jackson, who will also coach junior high basketball.
In addition to helping with the football program, Taylor will be the assistant baseball coach.
Other new coaches hired include LeAnn Henderson (assistant girls track); Cari King (assistang volleyball, girls basketball, and girls track; Brittany Cray (assistant volleyball, and junior high girls basketball and track); and, Erica Hill (assistant volleyball and softball).
In addition to coaching the offensive line, Boswell will be an assistant coach for powerlifting and track.
He has a long track record of coaching in area schools starting in Aspermont in 1994 and including stints at Petrolia, Burkburnett and Wichita Falls Old High before returning to the Bulldog program where he climbed the program starting in 2004 to become the head football coach in 2009, ending in March of this year where he left to become the assistant high school principal in Vernon.
Taylor brings an abundance of skills and experience to the Hawk baseball program.
Most recently, he served as a middle school teacher/coach and head high school baseball coach at Fredericksburg. Prior to that, he was a student assistant baseball coach at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, after leaving the Cleveland Indians organization after three years.
In high school at Bowie, Taylor was named high school All-American twice, and the southpaw was Louisville Slugger’s co-national pitcher of the year as a senior. He played two seasons at Vernon College before going to Oklahoma University, where he went 9-3 with a 3.75 ERA.
His three-year stint with the Indians was cut short at the Double-A level when he tore his labrum and rotator cuff.
Coach Swenson on Tuesday said is “very happy” to have Taylor on board, with his first assignment to focus on the returning Hawk pitchers. “I will be able to focus on other things now, like the outfielders,” Swenson added. “This addition will greatly help our program.”
Gillon has had several successful seasons coaching high school tennis, with his first assignment at Rider in 2008 after graduating from Midwestern State University. He was district Coach of the Year in three of his seven years with the Raiders, and in three years led his team to the state tournament.
Gillon left Rider in 2015 for Grapevine High School, with his fall team earning the 5A state championship, and that spring coaching the boys doubles and mixed doubles state champion teams.
Just prior to accepting the job at IPHS, Gillen was varsity tennis coach at Vernon High School.
A 2013 graduate of IPHS, Jackson was a state semi-finalist in boys singles. While attending Midwestern State University to earn a degree in Kinesiology, Jackson was active in coaching YMCA and Boys and Girls Club football and basketball, and serving as a Church Camp Counselor and Youth Group Leader. He was hired in Janurary as a Special Education Aide at W.F. George Middle School.
In addition to his classroom duties, Jackson will assist Gillon with the tennis program.
After earning bachelors and masters degrees in science at Midwestern State University and Texas Tech University, King taught both middle school and high school science classes at Vernon and Harrold before her most recent stint at Memphis, where she taught middle school science and served as head volleyball, basketball and track coach.
Hill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from Midwestern State University in 2013, and worked as a dental hygienist before becoming the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Endunamoo S&C in Wichita Falls. In addition to medical licenses and certifications, she is certified in Mathematics (4-8). She will coach junior high volleyball and be an assistant high school softball coach.