It’s a Monday morning in the middle of June; do you know where your head football coach is?
The man bestowed with that job title in Wallis punched his timecard in the weight room at 8 a.m. to take the first step in inheriting a program built up by other men, ready to put his own spin on things.
Ryan Roecker was announced as the newest head football coach/athletic director of the Brazos Cougars last Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Brazos ISD Board of Trustees. Roecker was most recently with the Class 3A Anahuac Panthers as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the football team and the head coach on the baseball diamond, where, in his first year at the helm, the Panther nine came just one game shy of the playoffs, the closest they had been in nearly a decade.
“In 15 years of coaching I’ve spent nine at a small school and when you’re at a small school, it’s all hands on deck,” Roecker said. “While I’ve been an offensive coordinator, I was probably the only quarterback/3-technique coach in the state.”
On the gridiron, the 2016 version of the team had an offense, coordinated by Roecker, that averaged over 300 yards a game and featured a quarterback-running back duo that saw both eclipse 1,000 yards rushing on a season that ended in the postseason for the first time in eight years.
Not only that, but he was also named as Anahuac Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year for this past school year and was honored as AISD’s secondary teacher of the year for the 2017-18 year for his contributions to the special education department, where he has worked since 2014.
Stepping into the role at Brazos, however, means that he will not be tasked with running a classroom, although he mentioned there will be no shortage of his beard being seen all around the district.
“My focus will be down in the elementary and middle schools because a lot of times you see people hoping (success) magically happens at the high school level but that’s not the way you grow a program,” Roecker said. “If you want a program to be successful, it’s kind of like (not) building your house on sinking sand, you better invest some time in that school across the field over there, they’ll see me as much as these guys over here (at the high school) see me.”
He saw the first of his guys this past Monday morning with the first lifting session serving as a meeting point and the starting position for Roecker to really figure out what he’s got to work with this year.
“Heard good things about the guys we have returning, we have a fairly large senior class, so we’ll be looking to build on those seniors’ experience going several rounds in the playoffs,” he said. “One coach who was on last year’s staff said that the JV team was district champions, came from behind to beat Shiner in the last game of the year so it’s not a Cupboard Bear kind of situation at all, now it’s about getting the kids on board and buying in to where we take Brazos from here.”
Part of where they go will be determined by the amount of effort put in during the dog days of summer although Roecker mentioned the physical workouts aren’t the most important part of it all.
“The big thing about the summer isn’t about the workouts themselves, it’s about going through it with your team,” he said. “You gotta have some time to be a kid, I want kids to relax and have fun in the summer but to give up two hours to come up and go through a little bit of pain with your teammates so that when it gets to that point in the season, we can look back on it and say, ‘look we’ve already done this hard stuff together;’ that’s what summer’s about.”
Roecker’s ultimate goal is all about establishing something that can be continued and right now his eyes are set on the Class of 2030’s graduation from Brazos High School.
“I have a 10-year-old daughter (Rylea) going into sixth grade, an 8-year-old son (Major) going into fourth and a 7-year-old son (Jett) going into second so my goal would be to see Jett graduate from Brazos High School with a successful history,” he said. “I’m going to invest, in my opinion, where the Lord puts me. We didn’t have any plans of leaving Anahuac, but it was that the Lord opened up a great door and obviously a door that we felt called to go through. Wherever we can make the biggest impact for him is on my mind.”
Roecker included that following his plan has been a simple task thanks to developing his own set of standards when it comes to this discipline.
“My philosophy is when you get in education you have two paths; you can move around and chase a ring or winning, or you get into it to affect as many kids as you can and so when you look at resumes, mine doesn’t scream winning, per se, but who are the kids that need you the most?” he asked. “It’s not the kids in Pearland or South Lake Carroll or Lake Travis, tradition takes care of itself. It’s the other schools that kids really need guys to invest in them and yeah we’re here to win, we’re going to win, but there are other things that we’re about that will turn these guys into good men.”