ST. JOSEPH NOTEBOOK: Continuity brings hope to Flyers
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Since 2009, the St. Joseph football team has had three different head coaches leading the program.
John Mares, who now coaches at Goliad, coached the team in 2009 and Donnie Slatter led the Flyers in 2010 and 2011. There hasn't been much continuity at the head coach position for St. Joseph in recent years, but, hopefully, that has changed.
Kevin Auten took over the program earlier this year and has every intention to stick around and build the Flyers into a team competing for state titles.
The change in head coaches hasn't been easy for the St. Joseph players, but they have found a comfort zone with Auten.
"It was difficult at first, the changes," junior Alex Coleman said. "It's gotten better, though. He's a good coach."
Continuity is a big part of the success plan in football. Bear Bryant coached at Alabama for nearly 20 years, won 323 games and six national championships. In the process he made Alabama into a national powerhouse.
"I think it's huge," Auten said. "I think with where we're at, where we started and where we want to go, we need continuity."
Auten has only been at St. Joseph one season, but he's already made a huge impact on the Flyers.
"He's been the best coach we've ever had," senior Charlie Holloway said. "He makes the kids want to play for them in the way he encourages and pushes us. He pushes us to the point where we're better players."
"He's been a really tough coach," junior Alex Coleman said. "He pushes us to our potential and it showed in our Regents and Savio games."
Austin St. Dominic Savio and Austin Regents were the two games St. Joseph won this season and both were in convincing fashion. The Flyers beat Savio 69-0 and sent home Regents with its first loss of the season after a 19-9 victory.
Unfortunately, the 2012 season didn't go the way anyone affiliated with the program had envisioned. Last week the Flyers lost to Austin Hyde Park 35-0 and were eliminated them from postseason competition.
"It's really disappointing," Auten said. "It's not how we envisioned the season."
St. Joseph has one game left to go before the helmets and pads are turned in. The Flyers host San Marcos Baptist Academy on Friday night at Patti Welder Stadium.
While this season won't be one to remember, there is hope for St. Joseph with Auten and key players like Coleman, Barclay Proctor and Cameron Zafereo, among others, returning in 2013.
"It helps us to have the same coach more than once," Coleman said. "It puts in a comfort zone to be able to play where he's going to put us and push us to our potential."
Auten has seen plenty of improvement already in the program, but this upcoming off season will be crucial to success in the coming years.
"The offseason is going to be big for us because that's where we get stronger and faster," Auten said. "We have to do those things. I hope to see a lot of improvement."