Young Cooper Starnes dribbled the basketball around Brookshire Gym prior to the news conference introducing his father, Drew Starnes, as the All Saints Episcopal School’s new head football coach.
The 4-year-old felt right at home as did Starnes and his family.
Starnes, who has been at Bullard High School the last three years, was named new coach of the program and introduced by Eddie Francis, the All Saints athletic director, on Friday at Ritter Lobby in the Bruce G. Brookshire Family Student Athletic Center.
“This is a very special day,” Francis said.
Starnes noted the family atmosphere at All Saints. “My family and I are happy to be a part of the All Saints family.”
Chaplain Thomas Morris led a prayer before Starnes was introduced as the new coach.
After about 15 years in the coaching business in the Houston area, Starnes said the family moved to the Tyler area when his wife, Kate, was named program director at The University of Texas Health Northeast for Rural Community Health.
Along with Cooper, the couple has 1-year son Jake-Michael.
Starnes then joined the Bullard High School staff when the family moved to East Texas.
Last season, he was co-offensive coordinator in charge of the running game and special teams coordinator for the Panthers.
Francis said he received more than 70 applicants for the position and after 10 phone interviews, five coaches were brought on campus for individual interviews the week before spring break. They not only met with Francis, but also the players and their families.
Starnes received his bachelors and masters degrees from Sam Houston State University.
Along with his football coaching duties, he will teach seventh grade Texas History, coach middle school track and head up the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle group.
Francis said Starnes takes over “for a fine Christian role model in Mike Hall” who resigned in January after three seasons.
“Coach Hall started a foundation for coach Starnes to build on ...” Francis said.
Francis added Hall brings “energy, passion, dedication and work ethic” to the Trojan program.
“Coach Starnes is also a proven winner,” Francis said.
Starnes said, “the foundation for the Trojans’ success will be laid long before we step on the field on Friday nights.”
He said strength, accountability, speed and men of character will be that foundation.
He added, the Trojans will play a “physical” style of football.
A reception followed the news conference.