Former head coach, Slot-T advocate Paul Kilby hired as LHHS running backs coach
By Keith Sparks
When the 2019 football season begins, there will be a new face on the Panther sidelines working with the running backs.
Paul Kilby, who has been a head coach at four different programs, has accepted a role as an assistant on Head Coach Jeff Walker’s staff.
Kilby spent seven years at Quinlan Ford as offensive coordinator, four years at San Marcos as offensive coordinator, and held head coaching roles at Mathis, Lockhart, Sweeny, and San Antonio Cole, where he earned a 37-28 overall record as head coach. Not so coincidentally, Kilby ran the Slot-T the entire way through.
Kilby will serve as the running backs coach in Walker’s Slot-T offense, but humbly stated there isn’t much he can add to an offense as impressive as Walker’s.
“I don’t know if there’s a whole lot you can bring to Coach Walker’s program,” Kilby said. “He’s the absolute best in the business, and I’m not just saying that because it sounds good. He absolutely is the best football coach in the state of Texas.”
What Kilby will bring to the table, he said, is someone that’s a “hardcore believer” in the Slot-T and Walker’s system, specifically.
“I think what they get is another hardcore believer,” Kilby said. “To buy in to the system, even though these kids are bought in and have run it a long time, it’s so unique. Getting kids to buy in is always critical, and when you’ve got a staff completely united and all-in on what we do, that really rubs off on the kids. I’m certainly going to be all-in, and you’re not going to find a happier guy to be here than me.”
Kilby said he’s had his eye on the position since Walker arrived three years ago, but the timing hasn’t been right until this summer.
“I’ve wanted to get to Liberty Hill for the last couple years, since Coach Walker got the job,” Kilby said. “I’ve always wanted to work with Coach Walker. If I was going to be an assistant, I wanted to work for Coach Walker. A deal almost came up last summer for me, and I knew they were going to have a great year, but it was just a little too late to leave the place I was at, but I’ve had my eye on working with Coach Walker for a long time.”
Walker and Kilby’s relationship began almost 20 years ago, which Kilby attributed to their familiarity with the Slot-T offense.
“I’ve known Coach Walker since about 2002, 2003,” Kilby said. “Us Slot-T guys stick together and get to know each other. Most of the time I was a head coach, he was the head coach at Rogers, and we visited a lot and discussed what’s working good, ‘What are you doing?’ asking those types of questions back and forth.”
Kilby called Walker the best football coach in the state, which he attributes to his “incredible” offseason program and his ability to drag less talented teams to win after win.
“Great people person, runs a dynamic offseason, incredible offseason, and he’s just a brilliant play caller,” Kilby said. “Coach Walker just has a way of almost willing his team to win. That’s the way I’ve always seen it. They beat a lot of people that have a lot more talent than them, whether at Rogers or Liberty Hill. He just has a force of his will, a way of getting kids to play way above their head and do great things.”
As far as Liberty Hill’s running backs are concerned, Kilby said he’s impressed with what he’s seen so far, naming Blake Simpson and Jacob Cearley as the leaders in the running game.
“I’m a little familiar with the kids, because I’ve been up here a bunch this summer,” Kilby said. “I came to watch several practices last year during the playoffs. I know Simpson is probably the bell cow. He is a great big ole’ junior-to-be who runs angry, and he’s tough. He may be a little bit more of the go-to guy. Certainly, great experience at quarterback in Cearley. I’m sure those two will be in the lead, and the other two spots, fullback and tailback, we’ve got some real potential good ones. It’s just a matter of figuring out who fits best where.”
The Liberty Hill community was another driving factor in Kilby’s acceptance of the position, as well as its proximity to Austin, where his daughter lives.
“I haven’t even gotten there yet, driving back and forth every day from New Braunfels,” Kilby said. “This is a great place. There’s massive growth, but it’s still got the kind of country feel. My daughter lives in Austin, so I’m super excited to be a little closer to her. It’ll be a quick trip up 183 to get her. The people seem fantastic, and there’s a real culture here of success and winning. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”
In addition to coaching the running backs, Kilby will coach track and field and plans on teaching world geography.