Breckenridge Texan

BHS coaches, athletes to start ‘remote coaching’ and video meetings this week

BHS coaches, athletes to start ‘remote coaching’ and video meetings this week
March 29
14:22 2020

With no one knowing, at this time, when the threat from the new coronavirus will end, Breckenridge High School athletes can expect either no spring sports or, maybe, a very limited season. However, starting this week, the new Breckenridge Independent School District Athletic Director, Casey Pearce, will begin some “remote coaching,” as now allowed by the University Interscholastic League.

As coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, continue to spread throughout the country, Buckaroos have been out of school for the past three weeks, in limbo about what the future might hold for their high school athletic careers.

Earlier this month, the UIL suspended all UIL-sanctioned activities due the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas, stating that the earliest games and contest may resume is Monday, May 4. In a statement issued on March 19, the organization said, “All decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials.”

Click the following link to see a video message from UIL Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt:
https://twitter.com/uiltexas/status/1243251376286617600?s=20

On Monday, March 23, the UIL released another statement allowing remote learning/coaching with some limitations. The statement reads as follows:

“During statewide school suspension, remote learning/coaching of UIL activities is allowed through electronic, video or teleconferencing type methods. Schools shall limit instruction of UIL activities to a maximum of eight hours per week per activity, in addition to a maximum of sixty minutes per day Monday through Friday. For athletic activities that are out of season, schools shall limit remote instruction to a maximum of sixty minutes per day Monday through Friday.”

Pearce said the BHS coaches have been working on a plan for the athletes.

“The track, baseball and softball coaches have been sending out a format of what kids could do once the UIL gave us the option for kids to do things on their own to workout and try to maintain a little bit of fitness level,” he said. “It’s just a basic plan. There’s really no way to monitor it. You just have to read it and do it.”

Casey Pearce discussed his coaching philosophy with those at the BISD school board meeting on March 6. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Another option that Pearce has plans to implement is using an online app called Zoom, which allows the coaching staff to engage with the student athletes through video meetings.

“We will probably try to set up some kind of online meeting with the athletes to where we can kind of get everything organized and ready to go so they know what they need to be doing,” he said. “If we don’t get to come back on April 6, then we will have to be more aggressive in April and in May to get the kids engaged athletically.”

Pearce said that he plans to use Zoom as a tool to meet with the athletes and engage them in some training activity. He expects to start using Zoom early this week, sometime between Monday and Wednesday.

As for the rest of the season, Pearce said the format that is being discussed by the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) and the UIL would be basically a tournament-type format.

“From the people I have talked with, they (UIL) are looking at maybe a late May competition start to the season,” Pearce said. “It would be basically a tournament-type format. It would be practice for a few weeks and then have a district, area, and a regional and state meet sometime in June. The idea would be mid-June for softball, baseball and track championships. … That’s the tentative thought right now, and it’s tentative at best.”

With the possibility of a tentative start back date of May 4, he pointed out the liability issues that it could be raised for state officials at the UIL and TEA.

“I don’t feel confident at all that we are even going to have a competition season,” Pearce said. “There’s just too much of a liability. If Texas doesn’t comply like everyone else nationwide, we will stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t think the UIL or TEA wants that black eye.”

Pearce was quick to acknowledge that the high school seniors deserve a chance to finish out their athletic and academic careers.

“For the kids’ sake, they deserve the opportunity to finish,” he said. “They deserve to have some closure to something this year and be able to celebrate some kind of senior year. It’s sad.”

For the class of 2020, most of the athletes have put in numerous hours of practice and hard work to get back to where they are now. Some have had a taste of success as freshmen, sophomores and juniors and were geared up to see even more success as seniors.

“They (the seniors) have commended all their work, effort and maturity to culminate into a championship year,” Pearce said. “Think about the kids that went to the state (track) meet as a sophomore or junior and they have worked to get back and they are going to try to defend or vie for a title in track.

“Another example would be the baseball team making it to the regional final a year ago,” he continued. “And this year, have a better team that is more seasoned and has an opportunity to maybe get to the state tournament. There’s just no way to describe it. It’s like getting to the prom and the door being locked. The fun stuff is ahead of them, and they aren’t going to experience it. That’s sad and that’s frustrating.”

Pearce noted the importance of continuing to support the students. “As adults, we have to try and support them the best we can and give them a sense that they didn’t waste their time in high school,” he said. “Hopefully, we can have some kind of closure. I know the people at the UIL are working as hard as they can to make that happen because they understand.”

The stress and pressure that the state officials have to being under is not for the faint at heart, he said. “You’re having to make a decision that affects millions of people in this state,” Pearce said. “Not only athletically, but the academic kids as well. The One Act Play kids across the state were fixing to be there (state) and compete for a championship. It’s frustrating at best.”

Pearce said that one of the biggest concerns and challenges he has faced is knowing the steps moving forward toward summer workouts.

“My biggest concern is how are they are going to handle summer weights and conditioning and your skill time,” Pearce said. “If we don’t go back to school, when are we going to put kids onto a campus or not necessarily a campus, but a central location where we could, first of all, just communicate with them.”

As the newly hired Athletic Director, Pearce has met with the students just one time, the day he was hired – the Friday before Spring Break started.

“I’m in the boat where I have seen the kids one time,” he said. “That’s a concern of mine, but good kids are going to work, regardless. If they like athletics, they are going to go do it on their own of some sort. The ones that don’t, don’t, and they are going to be behind whenever we do come back.”

He said the other challenge he has faced is not being able to lay any type of foundation.

“The biggest deal is just not being able to lay a foundation on any type of process that we are going to work through, not only with just the kids, but with the staff,” Pearce said. “I’ve seen the staff one time. I have been here every day. A lot of coaches have been through (the office), but we aren’t going to sit down and force a meeting to talk philosophy or action of what we are fixing to be under.

“It’s aggravating, but I’ve also been able to utilize the time and have had fewer distractions to get things ready,” he continued. “I think whenever it happens (UIL lifts ban), we’ve got a plan and are ready to go and attack it and move forward. That’s where we are at. It’s on paper, but we got put it to the road.”

With new faces from the coaching staff, a challenge is always presented to both the athletes and staff as a like.

“Your teaching time leading into fall camp, whether it be football or volleyball, is going to be critical, especially if it’s new faces,” Pearce said. “So, we need to be precise on what we want to try and get done. If we do get summertime opportunities, a challenge will be how are going to try and be 98 percent attendance so we can do some teaching. There’s no bench press or squat racks out there on Friday night.”

Another challenge for Pearce, from the football side of the spectrum, is familiarizing the athletes with offensive and defensive terminology and being able to evaluate the players.

“That’s the biggest thing right now is not being able to evaluate what we have,” Pearce said. “We may have a 6’3 tight end looking body, but he moves better than a tight end, and we need to move him and get him on the field where he is best to fit the group. Just not being able to see them (the kids) on their feet is slowing us down in the teaching process. Whatever the summer holds for us, we are going have to utilize every day.”

Pearce stressed the importance of attending summer workouts when and if the time comes.
“They have had their break. We have had a month-long spring hiatus,” he said. “When summer rolls, yeah, you make take a trip, but you need to be here (as much a possible).”

As the new athletic director and head football coach, Pearce noted a few items of program philosophy that he has spoken to the students and staff about:

• Give kids an exceptional and competitive experience in athletics
• Only way you are ever going to compete for championships around here is through work and intensity about how you work
• Athletics in Breckenridge is a marquee for this school district and understanding what you represent as an athlete at Breckenridge High School
• Gives people a place to come weekly to celebrate the community and the school and their kids or grandkids.

“Our kids need to embrace that and thrive on it and not think it’s just a given that certain things fall in their lap,” he said. “I think they need to have some pride and ownership in what we are doing around here.”

Pearce graduated from BHS in 1993 and received a warm welcome from the community when he was hired on Friday, March 7.

“I think it was huge to see the excitement that was created from commonality from being an alumni on my part and coming back and seeing some of those people I haven’t seen in 25-30 years come out and be excited about Breckenridge athletics,” Pearce said. “This was something that I also talked to the kids about.

“This (COVID-19) might have killed some of the excitement, but we got to get it stirred back up because that Friday (when I spoke to the kids and staff), it was pretty evident that the kids were tuned in, the coaches were tuned in and there was a genuine interest in that meeting to talk about,” he continued. “So that’s exciting for me. Hard work is about the only way to describe it, in what we are aiming for. It’s going to expose true character quick like and, in a hurry, if we don’t try to embrace it and move through it. We will see.”

Construction workers put the numbers on the new turf at Buckaroo Stadium on Friday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: The baseball and softball fields used by the Breckenridge Buckaroos are closed to the public as part of the Stephens County shelter-in-place order due to the COVID-19 threat. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

For more details on the impact the coronavirus is having on the Breckenridge community, click here to visit the Breckenridge Texan’s Coronavirus News page.

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