El Campo ISD’s school board Tuesday night unanimously approved Chad Worrell to become their next athletic director and Ricebirds head football coach.

Worrell comes to El Campo from the Brock Eagles, where he was the head football coach. The Eagles are a 3A football and all-around athletic powerhouse.

El Campo received 101 applications, the search committee and superintendent Bob Callaghan narrowed down the field until they eventually had their choice, Worrell, for $118,00.

“It was a pretty specific process. There were qualifications we went through. Characteristics (they) needed (to have). This is not a cut your teeth kind of job, I think this was the job that was going to require someone to have experience leading a program. This is a pretty good job for an athletic director (coaching) football in the state of Texas,” Callaghan said. “This is a great community with high expectations. Experience plays a factor in people’s ability to lead. We looked at a lot of great applications and it’s about fit.”

Worrell was not the athletic director at Brock, however, he does have six years of athletic director experience with stops at Tom Bean, Hamlin and San Angelo Christian.

At Brock, Worrell built a football program from the ground up, literally.

“He actually began the program in the junior high with seventh and eighth grade, there wasn’t a high school football team when he first started,” Callaghan said. “When the kids got into high school, he moved up and that’s how the program began. That was a huge enticing factor because he had built a program from the ground up and his success in the entire athletic program.”

Worrell won a state championship with the Eagles in 2015 and has made it to the title game in 2016 and 2017. Brock has won the UIL Lone Star Cup, which recognizes the best overall program in each classification. (For reference East Bernard was ranked 16th and Needville was ranked 20th during the 2018-2019 school year, there was no Lone Star cup winner last year due to the cancellation of spring sports).

Worrell will become only the third head coach El Campo has had since 2003 after replacing soon-to-be retired, Wayne Condra.

“(Me and my wife) are excited to be in this community and (we’re) looking forward to getting to know people and settling in and getting to work with the kids,” Worrell said. “We’re just excited to be here and be a part of this Ricebird tradition and hopefully we can contribute to that tradition along the way and I’m excited to see where it leads.”

Despite Brock being more than 300 miles away, Worrell has kept tabs on the Ricebirds since their trip to the championship game in 2012. He has also been in town before, making stops on multiple occasions during vacations and fishing trips.

Next year will be Worrell’s 16th year as a head coach, and he’ll be doing in the red and white of the Ricebirds.

At Brock, he compiled a 93-13 record, winning district in five of the seven seasons the Eagles were a varsity program.

With the Eagles, he had to start from scratch, the Ricebirds are a ready-made program with some of the area’s top athletes and with the right nudge, El Campo could be playing football in December.

“We built (Brock) from the ground up, but after 10-years I was looking for a new challenge,” Worrell said. “Not that this program is down at all, but the fact El Campo has never won a state title is kind of a challenge. I think it’s a great opportunity here to build on what coach (Bob) Gillis and (Wayne) Condra did and built here. They’ve basically had the same program here since 1992 and that was alluring. That tells you this is a pretty good place to be when coaches stay that long it speaks a lot for the community and the school district.”

The Eagles under Worrell were a run-first team, but they do throw the football. While he hasn’t officially started his role as the head coach until Monday, Worrell envisions a dynamic offensive attack from the Ricebirds next season.

“We are run first and we’re going play physical up front with the offensive line, running backs are going to run the ball, they’re going to be physical obviously and we’ve got guys here that can do that,” Worrell said. “And we will throw the ball, but it’s more fitting that passing game to your personal. If you’ve got somebody that can throw it and receivers that can catch it, but we won’t shy away from throwing the football at all.”

The school is planning a meet and greet with Worrell at the Civic Center on Feb. 10, look for more details in upcoming editions of the Leader-News.

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