As a blow-up tiger tunnel forms in the end zone, he is on deck, talking to his players. The smoke blows across the field as he lines up with his boys, ready to break the sign Collins Crew hold. As the band plays the fight song, he runs with the boys of fall, suited up and ready to play ball.
Varsity football coach Adrian Mitchell was hired in the spring of last year after previous varsity football coach Andrew Svoboda pursued a running back coach position at Rice University.
“I think [when hiring a new coach,] Mr. Kirk wanted to stay in house and pick someone who is from Klein Collins to continue the role and continue the legacy Coach Svoboda created and has continued over the past 11 years,” Mitchell said. “I was hired at a great school with a great administration and it’s been cool working with Mr. Kirk on a day-to-day level and see where his priorities lie, not only within athletics, but with the whole school.”
Mitchell has worked at Klein Collins as both an offensive and defensive coordinator, at different times, for the past nine years. He says this has helped him build relationships with kids on both sides of the ball.
“Whenever this whole process started, I remember we all sat down as a coaching staff and we talked about how things are going to be a little different, but they’re going to be the same,” Mitchell said. “They’re going to be like this or like that. I was fortunate because I was offensive and defensive coordinator. When you’re in one of those positions, it’s easy to forget about the other side of the ball. You don’t really work together on X’s and O’s. It was really fortunate that I got to work with all of these coaches. Even with the kids, it was along the same lines. I wasn’t only the offensive coordinator.”
This season, the team went 10-2 overall, continuing the dominance created by Svoboda over the past 11 years. According to senior Carter Rhyne, the program has stayed nearly the same since the transition between Svoboda to Mitchell.
“Nothing has really changed,” senior Alexander Brown said. “ The program has always been the same. The intensity and our workouts in practice has picked up since Coach Svoboda left. He always flips the switch between joking around and being serious.”
After a loss to the Vandegrift Vipers in the playoffs, Mitchell now wants to help his seniors reflect on their high school careers and focus on what is next with college. He is holding exit interviews while he also prepares his underclassmen for another playoff run.
“I want the seniors to take away that they were part of something special,” Mitchell said. “After starting interviews, that’s how they felt. They were part of something special over the past four years. I never wanted them to feel as if their senior season was a bust. The Monday after the game, we sat everybody down and thanked the seniors for what they had done and told them we haven’t forgotten about them, but that you all aren’t the point of emphasis anymore. For next year, the coaches and I are looking at our depth charts and we are moving guys around to see where they fit. We have a really good group of kids coming in as seniors. These kids went undefeated as freshmen. The future is extremely bright.”