Gainesville Daily Register

Local News

October 16, 2013

Johns, Hall strengthen GHS athletic programs

Gainesville — By Sean Gorman

Register Staff Writer

It’s easy to notice the recent improvement of Gainesville athletics on the field, but to athletic director Eric Johns and head football coach Keith Hall, the program’s most important changes have taken place away from it.

For the coaching duo, being a Leopard means more than putting on a jersey and taking the field. The real focus for their players surrounds faith, family and academics.

The Leopard leaders talked about the discipline instilled into the program and the impact its made on the Gainesville athletic program at the Gainesville Rotary Club meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“The way we’ve been able to bring a new level of discipline to the program, it’s going great and we’ve seen it evolve over the last year,” Johns said. “The problems that Gainesville has seen before, the low numbers and the bad rap, had a lot to do with a lack of discipline. Our purpose here is to develop kids, the discipline comes first before wins and losses.”

The new approach has included forcing players to run a mile if they break the rules set by coaches, ensuring athletes receive tutoring each morning if they’re failing a class and varsity coaches creating a support system through working with junior high athletes.

Also working as the Gainesville boys head basketball coach, Johns said the addition of stricter rules and a stronger support system has also led to coaches staying at GHS longer. After hiring 11 new coaches in 2012, Johns had every high school coach return in 2013. For the first time in nine years, the Leopards football team returned its entire coaching staff.

“It’s a credit to the kids who have latched on and bought into what we’re preaching – discipline, acting with class and doing the right thing,” Johns said. “Stability is a big part of that. We now have students who volunteer to help clean up after football games, helping cook hamburgers on Depot Day and cleaning homes of the elderly for free. Those are the kind of students we want.”

The impact on the field speaks for itself: GHS football experienced the biggest turnaround in the state in 2012 and has gone 18-1 since last season while the Gainesville basketball, soccer and softball teams reached the playoffs last year.

Hall has worked alongside Johns in his mission of discipline since joining the Leopards a year ago. The football coach discussed the state of the program and his expectations for the players and coaches involved.

“Like Eric said, a big part of what we teach the kids is that faith, family and academics come before athletics,” Hall said. “When these athletes graduate, we want kids who are great citizens with a strong faith and are family people. I tell my team all the time that if they take care of that, they’ll win in sports and in life.”

To achieve results on the field, Hall said the team must embrace the work that comes every week before playing Friday night.

“Proper planning prevents poor performance – that’s something we try to get all the players to understand,” Hall said. “We had a great season last year, but we don’t talk about it. Our kids have really been buying in the last two seasons.”

Under Hall’s leadership, the Leopards have learned to appreciate not only the goal to win a state championship, but the smaller objectives leading to that achievement.

“You have to have little goals that pave the path for that ultimate one you’re trying to reach,” Hall said. “We want to go undefeated in district and non district play, reach the quarterfinals and regionals, and finally win state. Thank goodness we’ve already done a lot of that.”

Hall, who met Johns while the pair coached at Vernon in 1998 was hired last summer before the season. From the start, the pair has agreed on the same approach: discipline comes first.

“Rules are clear cut and there are no exceptions,” Hall said. “We’ve proven that the last two years with our players. But if a player is disciplined, we move on and continue to love them as their coach.”

Text Only
Local News
  • drug sentence Defendant sentenced to 25 years for cocaine possession

    Carl Andrew Walker, 54, of Wichita, Kan. recently pleaded guilty to the first degree felony offense of possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced by the 235th Distict Court to 25 years confinement.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • donation Landmark bank provides donation

    Landmark Bank recently donated $1,865 to Home Hospice of Cooke County.
    Home Hospice of Cooke County is an institution that cares for those in the final stages of life, regardless of their ability to pay.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • rotary Geyer speaks at Rotary Club

    Sandy Geyer of the Butterfield Stage talks Wednesday to Gainesville Rotary Club members about the organization’s upcoming production “Annie Get Your Gun.”

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Muenster City Council appoints new police chief

    The Muenster City Council appointed Sgt. Tom Barr as the new chief of police after former police chief Mark Blankenship submitted his resignation, according to the July 7 unofficial minutes.

    July 10, 2014

  • 'Annie Get Your Gun' opens July 17

    Ticket sales are brisk for Butterfield “Annie Get Your Gun” — the final production of the 2013-2014 season.

    July 10, 2014

  • Cowboys for CASA to help abused, neglected children

    Vicki Robertson, executive director for Court Appointed Special Advocates for children (CASA), is looking forward to the upcoming Cowboys for CASA fundraiser July 18 at the Gainesville Civic Center when folks from all across the county come together in support of the non profit agency with the mission to provide advocates for abused and neglected children in the foster care system.

    July 10, 2014

  • GEDC Sharp: City still on track for annual budget

    Kent Sharp, executive director of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) advised the GEDC board Monday that the city is still on track for the $1 million budget for 2013-2014 year ending Sept. 30.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • First State Bank to acquire new branches after merger

    First State Bank is set to have offices in Cooke, Denton, Montague and Wise counties after officials with Chisholm Bancshares, Inc.  signed a definitive agreement with Red River Bancorp, parent company of First State Bank.

    July 9, 2014

  • PTK NCTC honor society wraps up successful year

    North Central Texas College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society recently wrapped up another school year by winning several awards at the PTK International Conference.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas confirms first case of West Nile virus

    The Texas Department of State Health Services today confirmed the state’s first case of West Nile illness of the season. DSHS is urging people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness.

    July 8, 2014

Featured Ads

What are your plans for the upcoming vacation season?

Stay close to home.
Take the trip of a lifetime.
See more of the fabulous sites in Texas.
Haven't decided.
     View Results
Twitter Feed
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Connecticut Boy Dies Inside Parked Car World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Dozens Gain Citizenship As Debate Continues Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Children of Deported Parents Speak Out Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide