By KEITH SPARKS
With a vacancy at the position of Offensive Line Coach, Liberty Hill’s new Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Walker looked to the rosters of the Panther football team he won two State Championships with in 2006 and 2007. On those rosters, is the Panthers’ new Offensive Line Coach — 2009 Liberty Hill High School graduate Brandon Terry.
Terry has spent the last three years working on his Master of Science in Biology at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, while also working as a graduate assistant for the football team.
After earning his degree in the spring, Terry began applying for college football coaching positions without any luck. His mother, however, came across a job opening on the Liberty Hill coaching staff. While it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for at the time, Terry couldn’t turn down an opportunity to coach in his hometown under Walker, who he calls “one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for.”
“I told this to Coach Walker. If there was any high school that I wanted to coach at, it would be Liberty Hill, especially since Coach Walker got the new head job,” Terry said.
Walker himself will tell you that he plans on bringing a new intensity to the sidelines of Panther Stadium. Terry would not disagree, based on his experiences as a player under Walker.
“He was very intense,” Terry said. “Always had the attitude to get everybody else fired up. He may have come across as a little too hard sometimes, but looking back on it, I really wish that I had had more coaches like him, because he instilled that work ethic and the drive to be as good as you can be.”
While studying biology at Incarnate Word as an undergraduate student, Terry was also playing football for UIW on an athletic scholarship. Terry explained that, though he knew his playing days wouldn’t last forever, he’s always wanted to stick around the game as long as possible.
“Basically, I just love the game of football,” Terry said. “Ever since I started football, I knew I wanted to be around it, but I knew that playing forever was highly unlikely. Coaching was the next best thing. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship in college and keep my playing career going for that long, but pretty much ever since I started football…really since my freshman year of high school, that’s when I knew.”
Terry has been a Panther since kindergarten, growing up in Liberty Hill and hanging onto his Panther roots through his family that still lives in Liberty Hill. Although he had hoped to land a college coaching position after grad school, the unique opportunity to be able to coach in his hometown isn’t lost on him.
“There’s a lot of things,” Terry said about his love for Liberty Hill. “I grew up there, from kindergarten through high school. I love Liberty Hill. It’s a small town. I know it’s growing, but it’s still a small town and it’s like a big family. Everybody kind of knows you. They know your face. I still get people, when I would go to the high school games after I’d already graduated, get people that I’d never seen before, they’d be like, ‘Hey, I know you.’ It’s just a great atmosphere.”
Having played under Coach Walker as a high school student, Terry will come into next season with an advantage that many new coaches don’t have. He knows Walker’s offensive system, he knows his tendencies, and he knows his expectations.
“Knowing Coach Walker and his philosophies, I have a feeling that I’m going to have a good sense of how everything’s going to run,” Terry said of his upcoming transition. “The kind of tempo that he wants, the kind of attitude that he wants, and everything in between, from offseason to spring ball. Just the attitude, basically, how he wants everything to run.”
Terry also spoke about what Walker brings to the table, and how his attitude as a coach affects the mindset of the typically undersized Liberty Hill football players on the field.
“Liberty Hill, we’ve always kind of got smaller guys, and it’s kind of always been that way,” Terry said, “but with Coach Walker, especially with that attitude that ‘You’re going to win, you have to win, you have to beat that guy across from you, it doesn’t matter if you’re smaller.’ That attitude that Coach Walker instilled in my class and the classes before me is really what’s going to help out.”
On the other side of the ball, Terry’s high school teammate Jordan Johns will also be entering his first year as Defensive Line Coach at Liberty Hill. Johns and Terry won two State Championships together at Liberty Hill, though Terry was a year younger than Johns.
“I think it’s going to be really fun,” Terry said of coaching with his high school teammate. “It’s always cool to have somebody that you played with, especially won State Championships with, it’s going to be really cool to coach with him. He’s going to be coaching D-line and I’ll be coaching offensive line, so we’ll have a little bit of a rivalry there, but it’ll be good. It’ll be a good atmosphere.”
In addition to coaching the offensive line, Terry will likely lead the Panther powerlifting team, as well. He’ll also be teaching biology in some form or fashion, but the specifics of the biology class he’ll be teaching are still in the works.