(Guadalupe County) – The Navarro and Marion ISDs are suddenly both searching for new head football coaches and athletic directors, and both as a result of the previous occupants of those positions accepting jobs in the same school district.
The Hays CISD Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Navarro's Les Goad as the new head football coach and athletic coordinator at Hays High School in Buda, and Marion's Bruce Salmon for the same positions at Lehman High School in Kyle by unanimous 7-0 votes in a Monday night meeting.
Goad won 108 games in 11 years at Navarro. He led the Panthers to 10 consecutive playoff berths, including a trip to the 4A-Division-II state semifinals in 2016.
Salmon spent six years in Marion, leading the Bulldogs to four district titles over the past five seasons.
Both coaches indicated that their decisions swung heavily on the combination of their current programs being in a strong position to achieve continued success and the opportunity that comes with coaching at the 6A level.
“I felt like at this state in my career, I felt like if I was going to take an opportunity like this, that this was the right timing,” Goad said. “I don’t think I can wait too many more years and still be able to make this kind of a move. I feel comfortable that the (Navarro) program is in really good shape, I think we’ve got a great coaching staff that’s in place that can carry on the traditions that we have, and just felt like this was the time. It’s a timing thing with everything that you do, but especially with this type of position. I will just say that it was very difficult, and still is.”
Salmon echoed those sentiments in addressing the choice to move from Marion to Lehman, and says family considerations also played a role in the decision.
I’ve always considered myself a program builder,” Salmon said. “We’ve been working strong with our community, and our school system, and our school board for the last six years to build our product out on the field. Our facilities and everything are top notch. I think some of that is a feeling of accomplishment in that stage – we set out with a five-year plan, we accomplished that with having success across the board. I think part of is the challenge. There’s some personal aspects to it with my own family, and affording some opportunities for my daughter to get into nursing – that’s kind of what she wants to do, and they have a nursing program there, and with their medical center right there in Kyle, there’s the ability for a high school student to cross train into some of those things, so a lot of that factored into it.”
Each coach was emotional in reflecting on the relationships fostered with student athletes, coworkers, and community members while building the stature of their respective programs.
“The legacy that we leave behind, it’s hard to leave it behind, because we’ve made history here,” Goad said. “My mindset is that they’re going to continue to make history. The best is yet to come. I certainly anticipate that at some point, I’ll be walking in, sitting in the bleachers to watch view a Navarro Panther playoff game one of these days. I hope it’s not too soon – I hope I’m playing more games myself, but I can certainly see that happening.”
Salmon fought back tears in expressing his sentiments toward the Marion community.
“One thing I want everyone in Marion to know, is that this is a special place,” Salmon said. “We poured a lot of what we did into here, and it’s better because of it, and it’s better because of the kids, and they’re going to go on and be successful, our basketball team’s going to kick a little bit of butt tonight, and go on and do things, and we’ll always be a Bulldog fan.”
Goad, who has spent a third of his 33 years in coaching at Navarro, inherits a Hays program that went 4-7 and lost in the first round of the playoffs last year. He replaces Neal LaHue, who announced his retirement in January after five years at Hays and 33 seasons in coaching.
Salmon takes over a Lehman program that went 1-9 last year. He steps in for Josh Kirkland, who left the Lobos after one season to join the staff at Incarnate Word.