Alvord ISD’s budget, tax rate down

With last year’s big paving project on the ground and paid for, Alvord ISD Superintendent Bill Branum said the district’s proposed budget and tax rate are both a little smaller for 2014-2015.

The proposed operating budget for next year is $7,222,956 – about $290,000 less than the current 2013-14 operating budget.

“This reduction is mostly due to the fact that the major expenditures for paving have been completed,” Branum said this week. The budget was discussed in a school board work session Aug. 12.

Branum noted that the instructional budget is increasing by about $192,000 – to $3,869,000 – due to the addition of art being offered on each campus, an assistant principal position at the elementary campus and the startup of a volleyball program at the middle school and junior varsity levels.

Branum said the food service budget has also increased by about $12,000, and bond payments for the new middle school and high school addition are going up about $3,000. The proposed food service budget is $440,348 for the fiscal year, and bond payments are $814,000.

The total of the proposed operating, food service and debt service budgets is $8,477,304 for 2014-15.

The proposed tax rate to fund that is $1.3540 – down a penny from last year. The proposed rate includes $1.17 for maintenance and operations and $0.1840 for debt service.

Branum told the board in its July 31 meeting that a 6.37 percent rise in property values would likely require the district to return between $89,000 and $110,000 to the state under the Robin Hood finance system.

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H.L. Spain

H.L. “Bill” Spain

H.L. “Bill” Spain, 90, of Alvord, died Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Decatur.

Memorial service was Aug. 21 at First United Methodist Church of Alvord with the Revs. Sam Campbell, Veronica Greanead and Tom Merritt officiating.

Bill was born Feb. 23, 1924, in Fort Worth to Lowrey and Velma (Thomas) Spain. He married Betty Jean Ball May 31, 1946 in Decatur and retired from the U.S. Postal Service after more than 30 years of service.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Alvord. Bill served in the U.S. Marines.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Betty Spain; and brothers Marion Spain and Wayne Spain.

Survivors include his daughter, Cammy Terrell and husband, Kent, of Chico; grandsons Zach Terrell and wife, Emma, of Denton, and Tyler Terrell of Denton; and many other family members and friends.

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Football: Randall scores in Alvord scrimmage

On his second carry of the night Saturday, Alvord senior Joe Randall broke through the heart of the Era defense and dashed his way 59 yards for a touchdown.

It was the lone touchdown on the night for the Bulldogs, who gave their four-year starter, who is nearing 3,000 career yards, limited touches.

Looking for Room

LOOKING FOR ROOM – Alvord’s Damon Ledet turns the corner during a scrimmage against Era Saturday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

“We didn’t run Joe a lot. We wanted to get a look at some other people,” said Alvord coach Pete Hart. “We needed to answer some questions about some people in certain positions.”

Alvord played with two reserves on the offensive line. Quarterback Cassidy Patterson also played sparingly as Connor Patterson took a good share of the snaps under center.

Hart said he liked his team’s effort in the scrimmage, but he expressed some concern about the execution on offense.

“As we got tired, we got to standing up more,” Hart said. “It’s a work in progress. We missed a lot of blocks. A lot of times, it was one guy. But for us to be successful, it has to be five for five.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Era to two scores. The Hornets put together a nine-play drive on their first set of plays and later scored on a screen play.

Alvord held Era without a first down on its first set.

“[Their misdirection] confused us early,” Hart said. “The second time the ones were out there we started making stops.”

Randall picked off a pass on Era’s final possession.

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Alvord puts line together

With 1,200-yard rusher Joe Randall and several other skilled players returning, the group under the microscope in Alvord as the season nears is the offensive line.

The unit is looking to replace a pair of starters to fill in around center Evyn Beasly, guard Hunter Talon and tackle Hayden Tillison.

Through the first week of practice, Alvord coach Pete Hart is encouraged by the progress of the group. Their first test will be at 6 p.m. Saturday against Era in a scrimmage.

“We’re looking at eight players and trying to find five,” said Hart. “We have eight or nine linemen that we believe can perform at a high level.

“Going in, that was a concern. But at this point, they’ve done a good job. We’re watching to see if the chemistry is there.”

Beasly agreed with Hart that the unit is coming together.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve simplified the blocking schemes. We have a lot of options on the offensive line.”

As they play, Tillison said the group will get better.

“We’re coming along,” he said. “The key for the offensive line is communication and trusting each other to do the job.”

With a back like Randall, who is nearing 3,000 yards for his career, and an experienced quarterback in Cassidy Patterson, Beasly said the group just needs to slow defenders down for an instant to open up opportunities for the playmakers.

“We just need to hold on for a few seconds and then get some down field blocks for Joe,” Beasly said.

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Teen injured in wreck

Teen injured in wreck

A California teen was flown to a Metroplex hospital following a one-vehicle wreck in Alvord Friday morning.

Truck Rollover

TRUCK ROLLOVER – Emergency responders assess the damage afer a pickup wrecked on U.S. 81/287 Friday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The accident happened around 6:35 a.m. on U.S. 81/287 near Farm Road 1655 and involved a pickup. Investigators said Devon Moore Ray, 19, was driving north on U.S. 81/287 from Denton to visit his parents in California when his truck rolled through the median several times and landed upside down in the southbound lanes.

Trooper Beau Bridgeman, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Ray told medics he thought he fell asleep while driving. Bridgeman found two of the pickup’s tires on the road after the wreck and said it looked like one had blown out, possibly leading to the accident.

Ray was flown from the scene to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Wise County EMS and the Alvord Fire Department responded.

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Alvord school board sets budget workshop

Aside from any last-minute personnel recommendations that may come up, a budget workshop is the only agenda item facing Alvord’s school trustees as they convene for a specially called meeting 5 p.m. Monday.

Although the board has approved several programs and committed to some expenditures for next year, very little discussion has been held to this point on next year’s budget.

Alvord ISD saw property values rise by 6.37 percent this year and will likely be classified as a wealthy school district next year, required to pay between $89,000 and $110,000 in local tax revenue into the state’s “Robin Hood” program.

The board has invested in some ongoing programs that will be included in next year’s budget, including implementing a volleyball program at the high school and middle school, purchasing 400 Google Chromebook notebook computers for high school and middle school students, upgrading the district’s wireless network and constructing a greenhouse for use by the agriculture, horticulture and floral arranging classes.

Those expenditures, along with salaries and other items, should be up for discussion Monday.

The board meeting is held at the administration office at 100 Mosley Lane in Alvord. It’s open to the public.

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Back to School: Happy to be a Bulldog

Michael Thurman felt comfortable in Alvord from the moment he walked into the job interview.

Michael Thurman

“It was like I knew these people,” the new Alvord Middle School principal said. “I related to them.”

That was in May. It didn’t take long for Superintendent Bill Branum and the board to settle on Thurman to take the spot vacated by Janis Branum’s retirement.

He was pretty sure he’d landed in a kid-centered school district, working with people whose priorities he shared. Attending high school graduation removed all doubt.

“It was so about the kids,” he said. “There wasn’t an adult on stage. Kids introduced the valedictorian and salutatorian. The whole ceremony was student-centered.”

Thurman appreciated the traditions, the emotion.

“Somebody said ‘That’s just graduation in Alvord,'” Thurman said. “I said yes, but there’s not a graduation like that anywhere else. It made an impact.”

Thurman grew up in Idabel, Okla., earned his B.S. in secondary education at Oklahoma State University and taught for six years in Norman before moving to Texas 20 years ago.

He taught, coached and served as middle school athletic coordinator in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district. In 2004 he was named assistant principal at a new middle school, helping start it from the ground up.

“I worked for some great people and loved what I was doing,” he said. “If you don’t love being around middle school kids, you’ve got no business being around middle school kids.”

Continued growth in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw motivated Thurman to look for a smaller community. His wife, Amy, had already made that move, having taught in Paradise for years. They live between Springtown and Boyd.

Now, Thurman feels like he’s come home.

“Alvord has a lot of good things happening, and can have a lot more,” he said. “I just want to be a part of it.”

That means a part of everything – sports to band, textbooks to computers.

“I’ve said for years – and I stole it from somebody – there’s nothing about education that’s supposed to be about us, the adults. It really is about those children.

“The teachers we remember, the coaches we remember – they were the ones who made it about the kids.

NEW HIRES

Alvord Elementary School

  • Kimber Dunkelbert – PE teacher
  • Elana Mattix – fourth-grade teacher,
  • Mindy Markum – counselor
  • Danielle Sandate – first-grade teacher
  • Barbara “Dede” Shelton – fourth-grade teacher.

Alvord Middle School

  • Krissi Oden – middle school and high school art teacher.
  • Kaitlin Sessions – English teacher
  • Charlie Stavlo – math teacher and coach.
  • Cicily Word – special education teacher

Alvord High School

  • Sandra Kostelecky – math teacher
  • John Shelton – girls athletic coordinator and head girls basketball coach for AHS
  • Kim Taylor – math teacher

DISTRICT AT A GLANCE

ALVORD ISD

www.alvordisd.net

Tax rate: 1.364 per $100 valuation

The Class 2A school district has three campuses, elementary, middle school and high school

Administration Building
100 Mosley Lane
940-427-5975

Superintendent: Bill Branum

School board members: Larry Nivens, Kevin Wood, Vic Czerniak, Jimmy Looney, John Schedcik, Lance Thweatt and Charles Matthews

Alvord High School
1049 W. Bypass U.S. 81/287
940-427-9643

Alvord Middle School
328 Farm Road 1655 S.
940-427-5511

Alvord Elementary
711 W. Stadium Drive
940-427-2881

Alvord Calendar

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Property wealth puts Alvord back in ‘Robin Hood’

Under the current public education finance system, good news on property values is almost always a mixed bag for Texas school districts.

That’s a big reason the system is being challenged in court.

Alvord ISD, which saw its property values rise by 6.37 percent this year, will likely be required to return between $89,000 and $110,000 of that new-found wealth to the state, to be redistributed to less property-rich districts.

“It looks like we’re going to be a Chapter 41 school because of property values rising,” superintendent Bill Branum told the school board Thursday evening.

The threshold for determining that is property wealth divided by the district’s Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA). Currently, that threshhold is $319,500, Branum said.

“Ours is going to be above that,” he said. “I haven’t got the Comptroller’s actual values yet, but we definitely did, I think, inch up over that line a little bit.”

Alvord’s property wealth, released by Wise County Appraisal District last week, was $429,113,890. Even with exemptions and an array of other numbers to punch into the state’s formula, with WADA at just over 700 students, Alvord is above the limit.

Branum said the Texas Education Agency web site has a figure of $89,000. By his own estimate, it will be as high as $110,000.

“There are several ways to accommodate that, if that ends up being the case, and one way is to simply reduce your state aid by that amount,” he said. “That’s the simplest way.”

He noted Alvord has dodged the “Robin Hood” trap for many years.

“Most of the districts around us are Chapter 41 already,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to hold off from that for a long time.

“It’s good that the values are going up, but until the state finance system changes, you can only get so much money. If you go above it, you have to somehow, some way, share it.”

An influx of students is about the only thing that would drive up the weighted ADA and reduce what the district would have to pay.

QUICK MEETING

With board president Vic Czerniak and vice president Jimmy Looney absent, the five-member board quickly disposed of an agenda that, for the first time in months, did not include a closed session. Board secretary Kevin Wood presided.

Principals Bridget Williams, Michael Thurman and Rhett King reported they are interviewing to try and fill the remaining gaps in the faculty, and Williams noted Alvord Elementary is handing out a large number of registration packets.

The board voted to raise breakfast and lunch prices, going to $1.30 for students at all grade levels. Lunch will be $2.50 at the elementary level, $2.75 at the middle and high school levels.

“We are totally dependent on whether the kids eat or not,” Branum said.

The board also approved policies, student handbooks, and contracts for insurance, and services from the Education Service Center.

They also hired three teachers. A synopsis of all the hires who are new for this school year will be included in next week’s Back-to-School coverage for all Wise County districts.

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Hart, Bulldogs make quick turnaround

Three weeks after being named head coach, Pete Hart will lead the Alvord Bulldogs through their first practice Monday morning.

The Bulldogs take the field around 8:45 a.m. Monday after a trip through the weight room.

Hart, who spent the past two years as the Alvord defensive coordinator, replaces Curtis Enis on the Bulldogs’ sidelines.

“We feel good. The kids have done a good job over the summer, and there’s a lot of excitement among the kids and coaches,” Hart said. “It looks like it should be a good positive season.”

Alvord went 3-7 last year, narrowly missing a playoff spot out in the old Class 2A Division II. The Bulldogs moved down to the new Class 2A Division I, which was previously Class A Division I, in the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment.

The Bulldogs return senior Joe Randall at running back. He ran for 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Alvord also brings back starting quarterback Cassidy Patterson and wide receiver Jaylon White.

“At this point, our [skilled players] should be the strength of the team,” Hart said. “We have some good linemen, but we’ll rely on the experience of our skilled kids to help them.”

Hart pointed out that the team will be searching for a cohesive five guys to play along the offensive front.

The Bulldogs will be tweaking the offense as Nate Skelton takes over as offensive coordinator.

Defensively, the Bulldogs return eight starters, including 9-2A’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year, Damon Ledet, at linebacker.

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Cambrie Ann Wade

Kim and Casey Wade of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Cambrie Ann, on July 29, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 9 pounds and was 19 inches long.

She has one brother: Gunner, 4.

Grandparents are Don and Donna Wade and Mary Ann Biddle.

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From Facebook to jail book-in; Gibbon arrested for copper thefts

An Alvord man was arrested for copper theft this week after seeing his photo posted on social media.

John Edward Gibbon Jr.,

John Edward Gibbon Jr., 32, turned himself in to Decatur police Wednesday, according to Decatur Police Sgt. Gerald Wright.

“He’d heard about the video still posted on the Messenger’s website,” Wright said. “He looked at it and decided to turn himself in. He said, ‘Yes, that’s me.'”

One of the photos, which was posted on the Wise County Messenger’s Facebook page and published in the Saturday, July 19, issue of the paper, showed Gibbon walking through a parking lot at Wise Electric Co-op on Farm Road 730 in north Decatur. The business was burglarized twice, on July 11 and 14.

Wright said Gibbon confessed to both of those burglaries and a copper theft at nearby Perkins Construction, located on Old Decatur Road.

Overall, Gibbon is accused of stealing six complete rolls and four partial rolls of copper wire for a total value of $1,037.50.

“He said he took the copper to Fort Worth and had someone else sell it for him,” Wright said. He added that the reason Gibbon gave for stealing and selling the copper was that “he needed money.”

Wright said Gibbon told him he was not involved in other copper thefts around the county.

Wright worked with investigators at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and said it’s possible other arrests could be made in connection with the case.

Gibbon has been charged with theft of material (copper) valued at less than $20,000 – a state jail felony. He posted $10,000 bond and has been released from jail.

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Kaide Ray Allen Harding

Angel and Kenneth Harding of Alvord announce the birth of a son, Kaide Ray Allen, on July 20, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.

He has three brothers: Skyler Hardin, 14, Calvin Todd, 11, and Chase Harding, 9; and three sisters: Zowie Todd, 10, Katlin Todd, 9, and Kalynn Harding, 9.

Grandparents are Judy Phillips of Overton, Buddy Nipp Jr. of Boyd, Deborah Parker of Columbus, Ga., and Charles Huckabee of Livingston.

Great-grandparents are Elizabeth and Butch Black of Livingston.

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Wise lands more than 50 on Weatherford College dean’s list

A host of Wise County students were among the 400-plus named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for spring 2014.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must take 12 or more semester hours, have no grade lower than a C and meet the minimum grade-point average. The GPA system is based on a one-to-four rating.

Wise County students earning the honor, listed by their hometowns, were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Christina Overton and Maribel Vargas.

Boyd: Derek Martin; Abram Moreno and Sarah Smith.

Bridgeport: Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Alexis Garrett; Joshua Hartsell; Gabriel Huerta; Taylor Hulsey; Tina Jennings; Annbra Johnson; Alexandra Martinets; Danielle Mindieta; Martha Sanders and Garrett Wagner.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Kimberly Bible; Elizabeth Brown; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Ramiro Loza; Dee McHenry; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Molli Umphress and Tiffany Vislosky.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Amanda Byrum; Sarrah Ennis; Zachary Flaherty; Selena Galindo; Wilson Garrett; Lacy Hankins; Brittany Hargrave; Jeffrey Keller; Martha Maldonado; Rebekah McGregor; Nathan Mitchell; Mercedes Moreno; Victoria Myers; Brandon Pelton; Sonia Resma; Venancio Rodriguez; Yanet Rodriguez; Karol Saenz and Kelsey Smith.

Paradise: Kristina Kemp and William Ngetich.

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Area students make TWU dean’s lists

Texas Woman’s University has released its dean’s and chancellor’s list for the Spring 2014 semester, and 15 Wise County students made the grade.

Undergraduate students who complete at least 12 hours and achieve at least a 3.5 grade-point average are eligible for the dean’s list.

Students who earn a 4.0 GPA are named to the chancellor’s list.

Those making the lists from Wise County, and their majors, were:

Alvord: Vanessa Alberts, sociology

Boyd: Alyssa Lomerson, social work; Kristina West, nursing (4.0)

Bridgeport: Angelica Reyes, dental hygiene (4.0), Kristie Sandoval, interdisciplinary studies

Decatur: Maria Arellano, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kari Gage, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Megan Maxwell, business administration/marketing; Rachel McGregor, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Katlyn Sanders, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kitara Wright, communication sciences (4.0)

Justin: Cherlyn Fraser, health studies (4.0); Amanda Harris, communication sciences (4.0); Gennel Lassen, interdisciplinary studies; Julie Nolting, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kiara Reed, fashion merchandising; Paula Scotton, nursing (4.0): Esther Simental, dental hygiene (4.0); Nikki Vasquez, art (4.0); Erin Wages, child development (4.0); and Maggie Watkins, interdisciplinary studies (4.0)

Paradise: Taylor Blount, nutrition (4.0); Saira Fernandez, undeclared

Rhome: Bettina Davis, dance; Maritza Mauricio, business administration

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Hart named AD; Coordinator takes over as Dogs’ head coach

The Alvord Bulldogs found their new leader within their own ranks.

Pete Hart

Defensive coordinator Pete Hart is taking over as the Alvord head football coach and athletic director. Alvord ISD trustees extended Hart a two-year contract Thursday to take over the roles after a two-hour executive session.

“I am ecstatic and excited,” Hart said. “We’ve got a good staff and a good set of kids. Coming back down a division, we’re looking at an opportunity to have a lot of success.”

Alvord picked Hart after interviewing 12 candidates out of a pool of 35 applicants.

Hart takes over for Curtis Enis, who resigned as the head football coach in June to take the girls basketball job at Burleson. Enis was at Alvord three years.

Hart has spent the past two seasons at Alvord as the defensive coordinator, where he’s built strong relationships with many players in the program.

“The kids asked me to apply,” he said. “I’m honored and humbled to be their athletic director and football coach.”

He also thanked the school board and administration for the opportunity to the lead the program.

Alvord went 3-7 last year as one of the state’s smallest schools in the old Class 2A Division II. After the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment, Alvord moved down to the new Class 2A Division I, which was previously Class A Division I.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football picked Alvord to win the new District 5-2A Division I over Chico, Valley View, Bells, Blue Ridge and Trenton.

Before coming to Alvord, Hart spent two years at Bridgeport, where he also coached from 1986 to 2002.

Hart was the head coach and athletic director at Chico for eight years, going 12-68. The veteran coach has spent 28 years in the profession – all at Wise County schools.

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Board makes several new hires

The meeting took place mostly behind closed doors, but it was no secret what the Alvord ISD board of trustees was doing Thursday afternoon.

They were hiring.

After two hours of private discussion, the board opened the doors and hired three teachers each for the elementary and middle school campuses, counselors for both schools, and a new head football coach and athletic director for Alvord High School.

It was the latter that drew the most attention. Pete Hart, defensive coordinator for the past three years, was named AD and head football coach after the tumultous demotion and departure of Curtis Enis earlier this year (see story on page 1A).

But also noteworthy was the hiring of counselors for the elementary and middle school campuses, and new teachers – in several instances replacing teachers who moved to different campuses.

New middle school counselor Kimberly Cantwell earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She previously served as a counselor at Nocona Middle School.

Melinda “Mindy” Marcum, the new counselor for Alvord Elementary, earned her bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and an M.Ed. from Dallas Baptist University. She taught nine years in Paradise ISD and served for 10 years as intermediate counselor in Bridgeport ISD.

New Alvord Middle School faculty hired Thursday are:

  • Charlie Stavlo, to teach math and serve as a girls’ assistant coach at both the middle school and high school campuses. Stavlo, a graduate of Texas A&M, previously taught math and was an assistant coach at Franklin ISD alongside new girls basketball coach/coordinator John Shelton.
  • Cicily Word, special education. She is a graduate of Texas A&M has served as a special education teacher with Wise County Shared Services.
  • Kaitlin Sessions, English/language arts. A graduate of Texas A&M, she did her student teaching at Paradise Middle School and was a long-term substitute there. This is her first full-time teaching position.

New teachers at Alvord Elementary include:

  • Barbara “Dede” Shelton, to teach 4th grade writing. A 17-year classroom veteran, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and business management from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and received an M.A. from Texas A&M Commerce. She has taught in Bryan, Buffalo, and most recently, in Franklin, outside Bryan. She is the wife of new girls head basketball coach and coordinator John Shelton.
  • Danelle Sandate, to teach first grade. A graduate of the University of North Texas, she substituted long-term in Keller ISD and Jacksboro ISD, then taught full-time in Jacksboro.
  • Elana Mattix, to teach fourth grade. She graduated from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls and has taught in Montague ISD.

Staff development for Alvord ISD starts Aug. 10 and the first day of school is Aug. 22.

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Hart sees success on horizon at Alvord; Veteran coach returns to head coaching spot with Bulldogs

Four years after leaving Chico, Pete Hart is a head football coach again.

The Alvord defensive coordinator was promoted to the top football spot and the athletic director Thursday night.

Hart, who is beginning his third year at Alvord, believes the program is ready to take off.

“We’re excited. We’ve got a lot of pieces to be successful,” Hart said Friday morning after being extended a two-year pact.

Hart spent eight seasons at Chico, going 12-68 as the head coach as the small school in a 2A district. Since leaving Chico, he went to Bridgeport for two seasons. He’s spent the past two years at Alvord as Curtis Enis’ defensive coordinator.

He now replaces Enis, who resigned last month to go to Burleson as the girls basketball coach.

Alvord was 3-7 last year as the smallest school in their Class 2A Division II district. Alvord will be in the new 5-2A Division I – the old Class A Division II – this year.

Alvord returns running back Joe Randall that ran for 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago and eight starters on the defensive side of the ball.

“We had a lot of kids that played a lot of minutes on varsity as freshmen and sophomores last year,” Hart said. “They are now another year bigger and stronger. There’s a lot of talented kids. We have to put a plan in place to perform.”

Along with Hart, most of the Alvord staff will return for this year. Hart said that will pay big dividends.

“With the exception of Enis, the staff is the same,” he said. “They’ve been working and teaching these kids for two years. That will allow us to be successful.”

Hart said many of the players in the program came to him after Enis left and asked for him to apply for the job to keep the staff in place.

“It wasn’t just about keeping Coach Hart. They wanted to keep the staff,” Hart said.

The 28-year coaching veteran has spent his entire career at Wise County schools. In his stops, he’s been able to develop strong relationships with players.

“I’ve had others tell me that I’m a players’ coach,” Hart said. “I relate to them well and have a soft spot for every kid.

“I never lie to them. I’m very honest with them about what I ask for them to do. If a kid trusts a coach, they will run through a brick wall for them.”

While Hart values the lifelong friendships he’s developed over the years with his players, he’s quick to point out that they must be successful at the end of the day.

“It is about winning,” Hart said.

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Aubrey DeLane Baird

Jamie and Jason Baird of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Aubrey DeLane, on July 9, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces and was 20 inches long.

She has one brother: Tyler Hicks, 9.

Grandparents are Edward and Linda Elsmere of Alvord and Jim and La-wanda Baird of Alvord.

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Bulldogs on the hunt for new coach, AD

The Alvord Bulldogs may have their new football coach and athletic director Thursday.

Alvord trustees have called a meeting for 5 p.m. to consider personnel items, specifically the athletic director and football coach job.

“I don’t know for sure we’ll be ready. We’d certainly like to be, but we still have some interviews to go,” Branum said Tuesday afternoon. “We do have some teachers to hire for sure.”

According to Branum, the district had 35 applicants for the head football job that came open last month when Curtis Enis left to take the girls basketball job in Burleson. Before he left Alvord, the school board took the role of athletic director from Enis, and Branum has been the acting AD.

“Obviously, this time of year is not the ideal time to be looking for an AD and coach,” Branum said. “But we feel we’ll end up with a good one.”

Of the 35 applicants, the district granted interviews to 12.

Branum said most have head coaching experience.

“The ones that don’t certainly have quite a bit of experience as a lead assistant – offensive or defensive coordinator,” Branum said.

One coach on the current staff applied and interviewed for the job.

The district is within the 45-day period where another district would not be required to release a person under contract to take the job.

“Usually if someone is getting a promotion, most of the time the other school district will waive it,” Branum said.

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Whitt, team run into Hall of Fame

Whitt, team run into Hall of Fame

Stacey Whitt was just weeks away from moving to Brenham to start classes at Blinn Junior College when he had a sudden change of plans.

“I was recruited by Blinn and the coach took the job at Texas A&I,” Whitt recalled. “I was two weeks away from starting my freshman year when he offered me a chance to run at a 4-year school instead of a JUCO.”

Running Into Fame

RUNNING INTO FAME – The 1986 Texas A&I men’s and women’s cross country teams will be inducted into the Texas A&M-Kingsville Hall of Fame in September. Stacy Whitt, an Alvord alum, was a member of the squad that won the Lone Star Conference title. Submitted photo

The benefits of that change of course continue for the Alvord graduate. This fall, Whitt will join the fellow members of the 1986 Texas A&I men’s and women’s cross country teams for induction into the Javelina Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held Sept. 5 on what is now the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus.

“It’s a big honor,” Whitt said. “We won a couple of league championships in 1984-86.

“We’re a big family. We are already making plans for the weekend to gather at one of the runner’s homes and we’ll stretch our times.”

Whitt won the 1983 Class A title in the 3200, running a record time of 9:41.9. The mark stood until 1987.

After graduating Alvord, he arrived in Kingsville to compete in cross country and track. He found himself running against some of the best athletes in the world.

“The NCAA had passed a rule for Division I schools that wouldn’t allow kids over a certain age come in,” Whitt said. “Because of that we had world-class runners running in our Division II. Our 1986 team at Texas A&I went up against the best teams with international runners.”

But that did not deter Whitt and his Texas A&I teammates. The group of talented runners upset national powerhouse Abilene Christian in 1984.

ACU recaptured the league crown in 1985.

The following year, Whitt and the Javelinas took down ACU by a point, 32-33, to capture the conference title.

“Although we didn’t have the international runners, we were able to take the bigger prize and the conference title,” Whitt said. “It took a team to accomplish that.”

The A&I squad followed that up with a regional title, scoring 51 points to ACU’s 74.

The Javelinas and Whitt closed the season by finishing 12th at the NCAA Division II meet.

“We ran in California aand in the altitude, we were toast,” Whitt recalled.

Individually, Whitt was an All-Lone Star Conference performer on the track and in cross country during his time at Texas A&I. He turned in a personal-best 10K of 32:14, 5K of 15:06 and 1500 of 3:56.

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