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2016-17 in Review: Bridgeport ushers in change – Wilson takes lead as athletic director for Bulls

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, June 17, 2017
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Successful Run

SUCCESSFUL RUN – The Bridgeport Bulls soccer team finished as the state runner-up in Class 4A in the program’s second season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

For the first time in 24 years, Bridgeport will start a school year with someone new leading the athletic program.

Danny Henson announced in January his retirement after leading the program since 1993. A month later, the district tabbed Bullard coach Shannon Wilson as his replacement.

Since his arrival in February, Wilson has been busy putting in a program and hiring coaches. It’s a process that continues and one he is excited about.

“It’s been a whirlwind but we’ve got a lot accomplished,” Wilson said. “We want to build on the success that’s been here. There’s been a lot of good things occurring here, and the kids coming up have been here to witness that.”

Wilson, who will lead a football team that has missed the playoffs in three of the past four years, points out that it is a better situation than when he went to Bullard. Bridgeport had made the playoffs in all but seven of the 24 seasons under Henson.

“At Bullard, they hadn’t been to the playoffs in 18 years when we got there,” he said. “These kids have seen the success, and that’s important.”

Wilson has been encouraged by the participation in the school’s summer workouts heading into his first year.

As an overall program, Bridgeport teams made the postseason in boys and girls basketball and soccer.

TOP TEAM: BOYS SOCCER

The Bridgeport Bulls in their second season captured the imagination of the community in making a run to the 4A title game.

Led by the defensive heroics of Eric Aguilar and the offensive work of Juan Amador, Miguel Olmos and Efrain DeLuna, the Bulls won the 3-4A title after fighting to draws in their first three games.

Bridgeport beat San Elizario in the region final to advance to state. The Bulls knocked off Progreso in the state semifinal and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime against Kilgore in the title game. Kilgore won the game on penalty kicks.

“It’s amazing in the second year we’re here. This whole year no matter what happened we kept our heads up and kept moving forward,” Olmos said.

BEST SURPRISE: BRIDGEPORT GIRLS GOLF TEAM

The Bridgeport Sissies made their straight state tournament after graduating their top player from the year before, Lexi Read.

Led by senior Brooke Irion, Bridgeport finished third at the Class 4A Region II tournament.

Irion went on to post a 1-under in the second round of the state tournament to finish as the silver medalist.

CHANGES ON THE WAY

Several teams will have new head coaches next year at Bridgeport.

Wilson takes over the football team.

Jennifer Ragland is moving from coaching the volleyball team to leading the softball program.

Alan Green decided to step away from coaching basketball. Clayton Shipley from Brewer has been hired as his replacement.

Boys soccer coach Ben Parks has left Bridgeport to take the job at Argyle, his alma mater. The district is looking to fill his role.

BRIDGEPORT AT A GLANCE

Sport … 2016 record … 2017 record … Postseason

Football … 5-5 … 3-7 … Missed playoffs

Volleyball … 9-28 … 14-21 … Missed playoffs

Cross country … Sent three boys to state meet

Boys basketball … 23-9 … 14-19 … Bi-district

Girls basketball … 22-11 … 23-10 … Bi-district

Boys soccer … 12-8-2 … 19-13-5 … State runner-up

Girls soccer … 5-15-2 … 7-7-4 … Bi-district

Track … No state qualifiers

Baseball … 11-12 … 12-15 … Missed playoffs

Softball … 12-13 … 6-23 … Missed playoffs

TOP ATHLETES

Top Male Athlete: Eric Aguilar
Top Female Athlete: Abbi Hatton

COACHING CHANGES

Football

Previous coach: Danny Henson
New hire: Shannon Wilson

Volleyball

Previous coach: Jennifer Ragland
New hire: Open

Boys basketball

Previous coach: Alan Green
New hire: Clayton Shipley

Boys soccer

Previous coach: Ben Parks
New hire: Open

Softball

Previous coach: Ruben Garza
New hire: Jennifer Ragland

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