Wesley Roberson

Coming over from Wichita Falls Rider where he was an assistant baseball coach and head JV coach, Wesley Roberson has been named Gainesville’s next head coach after Garrett Thomas stepped down following his year of duty.

At his core, Roberson wants to make a connection with the team. He said it was important for him to entrench himself in the school and the athletes.

“I think a lot of it is just how you build relationships, get them to trust you and for them to know that we’re going to be around for a while,” Roberson said. “You don’t have to worry about me leaving. When you have different coach every year, they learn to trust someone and then poof, they’re gone. So I think it’s important that they know that we’re going to be here for the seniors. You’ve got to build that trust that you’re going to be around and that if they need anything that you’re there for them.”

Roberson has a unique connection with Athletic Director James Polk as he used to play quarterback for Polk at Kennedale High School.

Roberson later worked with Polk at Snyder, where Roberson was a golf coach.

As a 28-year-old, Roberson said becoming a head coach is a personal success story.

“My goal was to become a head coach by the time I was 30, so I did it,” Roberson said. “I still don’t know what to expect and there’s a little bit of nervousness there, but I think that comes with any coaching job really. It’ll be cool here because my wife will be teaching here as well coaching cross country and soccer.”

The Leopards went 11-13 last season. Roberson said he knows there will be challenges.

“Some of the challenges are just trying to get the team back on the winning track,” Roberson said. “I know it’s been a while since they’ve won. We want to win games during district, not just the non-district games. All that matters is district. So that’s what we’re going to try to do is get the kids to learn how to win and get their mental game stronger, but I’m up for my challenge.”

Roberson said he thinks this head coaching gig is coming at a perfect time in his life.

“The coaches that I’ve worked under at Rider, they kind of put me out there and let me do stuff on my own,” Roberson said. “So that kind of prepared me to be a head coach. And I know coach Polk wouldn’t have asked me if he didn’t think I was ready. So I have the experience and then my assistant also has experience as a head coach, so I can always look to him if I need help with anything.”

Roberson said he can’t wait to implement his own strategies and techniques.

“I care about wins and losses, but that’s not the most important thing,” Roberson said. “We want to not only make them winners on the field, but winners in life and make them better young men. The one thing that me and my assistant don’t see eye-to-eye on is, he doesn’t like to play small ball and I am a small ball guy. So we’ll kind of make some adjustments and maybe meet halfway.” Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip