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A familiar beginning: Hart follows in father’s footsteps at Bridgeport

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, July 21, 2018
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All In the Family

ALL IN THE FAMILY – Lauren Hart (left) cheers with her father, Pete, after a Bridgeport football game. Lauren got her first coaching job at Bridgeport Middle School. Submitted photo

Thirty-two years ago, Pete Hart was still searching for his first coaching gig.

After graduating from Angelo State in 1986, Hart made his way to Bridgeport to interview for a job opening. Within minutes of finishing the interview, he was presented a contract.

“I didn’t really know what to do,” Hart recalled. “Back then, we didn’t have cell phones. I went and found a pay phone and called my father. I said, ‘Dad, Bridgeport has offered me a contract. What do you think?’ And very matter of fact he said, ‘What other job do you have right now?'”

Hart wasted little time accepting the offer and spent the next 16 years at Bridgeport, eventually serving as former head coach Danny Henson’s defensive coordinator. He has made stops in Alvord and Chico, and currently serves as the Bulldogs’ athletic director and head football coach.

Now, more than three decades since he got his start in Bridgeport, Hart’s daughter, Lauren, will begin her coaching career in the same place.

Her journey started in a familiar fashion.

Special Moment

SPECIAL MOMENT – Pete Hart hugs his daughter, Lauren, after a track meet. Lauren was recently hired as a coach at Bridgeport Middle School. Submitted photo

“When Lauren went over and talked to [Bridgeport Middle School Principal Travis] Whisenant and Coach [Shannon] Wilson, Mr. Whisenant called her that afternoon and said they’d like to offer [her] a coaching position,” Pete said. “She immediately called me and said, ‘Dad, what do you think? I’d like to go to Bridgeport.’ And I said, ‘Well, call them and tell them you’re going to take the job.”

Lauren did just that.

“To start where he did means a lot to me,” Lauren said. “It was such a great opportunity for me. I love this community. The athletics in Bridgeport are really starting to look good.”

Starting in August, Lauren will coach volleyball, basketball and track at the middle school. Lauren played for Bridgeport girl basketball coach Dallas Taylor and was the starting point guard as a sophomore.

When Pete became Alvord’s defensive coordinator in 2012, Lauren followed him and graduated from Alvord two years later. In her senior year with the Lady Bulldogs, Lauren guided Alvord to the third round of the playoffs.

She was named District 9-2A and All-Wise County Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, averaging 9.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game.

Lauren went on to play college basketball at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma in Chickasha, a member of the NAIA conference.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her back in Bridgeport,” Taylor said. “She was a great ball player and brings a lot of experience to our coaching staff. I look forward to her coaching with me and helping our Sissies basketball program continue to get better.”

The Sissies went 21-7 last year and were ranked in 4A before Christmas. Bridgeport lost to Dallas Lincoln in the bi-district round of the playoffs and return almost their entire roster in 2018, including Wise County Girls Co-MVP Emily Vidal.

Her dad might not be at Bridgeport anymore, but Lauren knows some people will only know her by one name.

“Pete’s daughter,” Lauren joked. “Every time – you’re Hart’s daughter, right? Yep, that’s me.”

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