Brownwood approved Bob Shipley as football coach and athletic director Thursday night. Shipley leaves Class 5A Coppell after two successful years to return closer to his roots in the Big Country.
Shipley coached at Burnet, between Brownwood and Austin before arriving at Coppell.
"I love 3A football. I had a lot of fun with it at Burnet," said Shipley at Brownwood's school board meeting. "There's nothing like the Big Country. I've spent many years living in Abilene and coming to Brownwood.
"I feel comfortable in this part of the country. There's nothing like small-town football."
In the Hill country, Austin Westlake coach Derek Long told his players Thursday afternoon he was retiring. Long had a record of 54-22 in six seasons.
At Carrollton Creekview, Kyle Geller makes the move from Mansfield Summit after getting approval by the CFBISD school board Thursday.
Geller, 36, already has established himself as one of the state's most proven Class 5A coaches.
Geller followed Tim Beck as an assistant to open Summit in 2002 and it's blossomed quickly into a state playoff contender every season. Beck left to become a college assistant after three seasons and Geller took over the program with the same continued success.
Geller was the District 5-5A Coach of the Year in 2007. But the Salinas, Calif. native returns to his Texas coaching roots at Creekview.
"(Carrollton)R.L. Turner was the first place I coached in Texas and I wasn't searching for someplace when Creekview opened," Geller said. "As a coach, sometimes it's time to leave one place and start fresh. The highlights at Summit have been the kids.
"The kids make you feel like you were lucky to have coached them. We had 10 kids playing in (college) bowls this season and then the other day, one of our kids who is in Afghanistan came by and talked about how some of the things he learned here relates to what he's doing over there."
At Westlake, Long helped make his mark in 26 years as one of the state's top programs. Long was defensive coordinator under former Westlake coach Ron Schroeder and succeeded him in 2003.
Westlake was 9-5 last season, overcoming a poor early start to go four rounds in the state playoffs before losing to San Antonio Clark 24-21 in the quarterfinals.
The Chaps made the playoffs in all six of Long's seasons as head coach. In 2006, Westlake reached the 5A Division I final before losing to Southlake Carroll
At Brownwood, Shipley arrives with another ultra-talented son. Shipley's older son Jordan Shipley helped build a powerhouse at Burnet. A speedy, acrobatic receiver, Jaxson Shipley was the the 2008 District 6-5A Newcomer of the Year.
Shipley can bring two assistants but said he didn't expect to bring longtime friend Brad McCoy, who is coach at Graham. McCoy and Shipley are longtime friends and Colt McCoy is Jordan Shipley's quarterback at Texas.
"Case and Jaxon are close friends, but I think that was a lot of wishful thinking and people trying to create a good story," Bob Shipley said. "I'd love to have Brad on my staff, but as far as I know, he has no plans to leave Graham."
Shipley said Danny McDaniel, another former assistant was not expected to be on his Brownwood staff either.
McDaniel's son Cam was a sophomore starting running back at Coppell.
Shipley said Jeff Merket, his offensive coordinator at Coppell, would join the Brownwood staff, provided he isn't promoted to head coach at Coppell.
Shipley has an 87-32 head-coaching record, including stops at Rotan, his hometown of Burnet and Coppell, where he was 15-7 the past two seasons. He was 54-19 in six seasons at Burnet, including back-to-back 14-1, Class 3A state runner-up finishes in 2002-03. Coincidentally, Brownwood will open the 2009 season against Burnet.
Shipley played college football at ACU from 1979-83 and later served two stints as a Wildcats assistant coach.
Starting next week, Shipley will be responsible for rebuilding one of the state's most storied programs that will enter the 2009 season having lost 10 of its past 14 games.
Brownwood won seven state titles under the late coach Gordon Wood from 1960-85. In nine of the last 12 seasons under Freeman, Brownwood reached the playoffs but it's last state championship was in 1981.
Brownwood loses talented quarterback Casey Pachall graduated in December and already enrolled at TCU. Shipley will have the Lions' speedy freshman Stehl Ratliff, who played running back and linebacker in the second half of last season.
Also contributing to this story was information in the Abilene Reporter News.