Louise assistant coach Joe Bill has been with the district since 2005 and has been coaching football and other sports for 35 years. Next season will be his first as a head football coach after being unanimously voted by the school board to become Louise’s next atheltic director replacing Heath Clawson who is stepping down for next season.
“It’s a dream,” Bill said. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a head football coach and here it is. It’s a blessing. A lot of prayer and hard work went into it. The right doors opened at the right time.”
Monday night, following the closed session at the Louise school board meeting, Bill was waved in and meet with claps and cheers from members as he signed his new contract with the district.
For two years, Bill was the athletic director in Louise, taking care of all the administration duties the position demands. David Lucio, who was the head football coach eventually was elevated to the athletic director/head coach role. Bill stayed and continued on with his coaching duties. Now Monday’s school board vote gives him the job he dreamed of when he first started coaching three and a half decades ago.
“I want to give thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the opportunity to lead this program. God has been very good to me and I thank him for the open door of opportunity,” Bill said.
Louise narrowed down applications to seven finalists who received interviews. Bill was the last finalist to interview.
“He’s a true servant,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “When you want to know something, know where something is or how to do something, he knows it all. He spends countless hours taking care of our community and our kids. When you got a guy that’s that committed and has that much experience and he smashes the interview (it was easy). (We) had guys that interviewed good, really good. But Joe came in here and killed the interview and then we know him, so we know he’s for real. That’s why we picked him.”
One of the things Bill brings to the position is consistency. Since he joined Louise, the district has gone through many different head coaches, but Bill has never left.
“(My family) came here 15 years ago, we had two boys, it was a great place and the kids loved it and we fit right in,” Bill said. “People are really nice and it’s a nice community. They kind of look out for each other and they always stand behind you.”
Bill was a special teams coach on varsity football this past season, he plans for a tough and hard-nosed Hornets going forward.
“We’re going to try and take care of the little details and hopefully that will take care of the winning,” Bill said. “The winning will take care of itself if we’re disciplined, tough and consistent. We’ll put a few (new) schemes in there offensively and defensively, we’re just excited about going forward.”
Bill expects a high carryover of coaches to stay in Louise for next season.
Louise’s new athletic director will have his hands full over the next couple of weeks while he begins transitioning with Clawson who is still with the district. Bill currently coaches girls golf and will be at the Regional tournament next week, on top of that he teaches history for the district.
“It’s a little nervous, but at the same time exciting to take over a program,” Bill said. “Be able to get the talent that we have and be able to work and put it together, that’s what it’s about. We’ve got some good coaches too and they’re excited about going forward and going to go to work.”
More inclusion and support district-wide, from the elementary school to the high school along with a sun rise study hall are things Bill is looking forward to adding during his tenure.
The sun rise study hall will be aimed at helping students athletes who end up failing, catching academic problems before they become a problem. Normally coaches don’t know a student is in need until the three-week progress report, but he is hoping to find out much earlier to help students before it’s too late by offering a two-day a week before school study hall.
Bill also wants to make sure students aren’t left out and there is a deeper sense of unity throughout the district. Bill used the example of having a spirit shirt that everyone wears on game day, elementary through high school.
“We’re pretty close as it is, but man I really want to stress that family and that unity,” Bill said. “If it’s band season and they’re marching, let’s support them. FFA contest, let’s support them. One-act contest, let’s support them, let’s cheer them on.”
On deck for Louise, with spring sports starting to wrap up, will be seven-on-seven. In the summer, off-season workouts and before you know it the Hornets will be back on the field preparing for another season, this year Bill will be the man leading the team.