It’s no family secret that, with the exception of the district championship team of 2010, Howe football has been going through some trying times.
Take away that Cory Crane season and the Bulldogs’ last league title came in 1998 and their last winning season was 13-years ago.
How do you go about fixing that problem? You just get a bunch of kids who believe they can succeed.
When searching for the 25th Bulldog coach in the school’s history, the committee found someone who had turned around a program with a similar history, hiring Weimar coach Zack Hudson to oversee the revival.
On May 22 we had a very entertaining and informative visit with Howe’s new athletic director and head football coach.
Hudson comes back home to North Texas after a two-year stint as head coach of the Wildcats. He took over a Class 2A football program that had never won a playoff game and in his first season, Hudson took care of that blemish, guiding the team to a 7-5 record and a 37-7 postseason win over Rivera-Kuafer.
For the 2012 season, Weimar was dropped to Class 1A (I) and the Wildcats won the District 13 championship and beat Ganado, 55-35, in the area round of the playoffs.
The 2012 district championship was the first since 1982 for the Weimar program. Taking over at a school that has had limited success does not pose a problem for Hudson.
"The Howe record from the past doesn’t scare me," he said. "We’re just going into this, creating an environment where kids want to be successful so that others can succeed.
"They just have to believe in themselves."
Hudson was hired by the Howe ISD school board on April 18, and his first day on the job, after clearing up his business in Weimar, was May 6. Hudson, his wife Carrie and their two daughters are excited about returning to the North Texas area after spending the last eight years in South Texas.
"We both love education, love working with the kids; she was the Director of Special Education in Weimar," said Hudson.
He grew up in northeast Texas, attending Rockwall High School before starting his college education at Navarro Junior College. He is a Texas A&M-Commerce graduate and his first coaching job was at Garland Lakeview Centennial.
"My wife also coached, she was coaching in Wylie, and with a coaching change in Garland we decided to move back close to her family and we both got hired at Weimar," explained Hudson.
Later, Hudson took a coaching job in nearby LaGrange before coming back to Weimar as the AD and head football coach in the 2011 season.
Hudson has been busy these first two weeks evaluating the current Howe staff and just getting to know the kids that are in his offseason program. Two new coaches will be joining the Bulldog staff as former Weimar defensive coordinator Danny Barber will be coming to Howe at the close of the school year. Barber was on the staff at Navasota for seven years prior to joining Hudson last season at Weimar.
Coach Nick Grimes will be the Bulldog’s new offensive coordinator, coming to Howe from Navasota, last season’s Class 3A state champs.
It would be unfair to ask any coach about expectations just two weeks into his tenure, but Hudson didn’t shy away from tackling that head on.
"Our philosophy has always been to be able to adapt to the skills of the kids," he said. "I’ve always been an offensive line coach, and I like to run the football, but if the pass is there, you have to be able to make it.
"I’m a big believer in not worrying about what other teams may be doing, just take care of yourself."
Last season, Hudson’s team broke a district championship drought that went back to the presidential days of Ronald Reagan in 1982. One of the top songs of that year? "Don’t Stop Believin’" by Journey.