I'm a coach's wife, telling a story the best I know how. It's important and I want to get it right! Jump on the train quick for the Temple Wildcats are gathering steam! Their destination is unknown but their desire is for greatness. Prayerfully join us as God unfolds a new chapter. They've all been good but I won't be surprised if He's saved the best for last!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Temple Daily Telegram

Temple gets its man: Popular pick Spradlin approved as Wildcats' football coach/AD
by Marcus Hood Sports Writer
Published: February 8, 2011

After being approved Monday afternoon as Temple’s football coach and athletic director, Mike Spradlin (center) shares a laugh with Dr. Robin Battershell (left), Temple ISD’s superintendent, and initial interview committee member Cheryl Jones. Spradlin, 56, comes to Temple after guiding Abilene Cooper to a 37-23 record and three consecutive trips to the third round of the playoffs. (Rusty Schramm/Telegram)A mere formality made everything a reality.

In a specially called meeting Monday afternoon, the Temple school board unanimously approved Mike Spradlin as head football coach and athletic director.

"What has gotten me to Temple is the people," Spradlin said, addressing the board. "I can't promise you any miracles, but I can promise our kids are going to work hard and they are going to be very competitive. Through that process we are going to teach them to be great citizens."

Temple ISD announced last Thursday that Spradlin - Abilene Cooper's coach and athletic coordinator the last five years - was the lone finalist for the job, beating out Cameron Yoe coach/AD Rick Rhoades.

Spradlin, 56, introduced his wife, Roxanne, and daughters Beth and Kim, who were there to support him at the hiring, before signing a two-year contract worth $105,900 per year.

It was somewhat appropriate for Spradlin, who focused on the family atmosphere that has guided his coaching style and hopes to bring to Temple.

"I'm tired of talking about me," he said. "I'm ready to work and be a part of the team. That's what it's all about. That's what we try to create. A vision I have is that our athletic program is a family. You can do two things: you can do your job and want the person next to you to do their job so it benefits you, or you can do your job and want the person next to you to do their job because it benefits them. What we are going to create is that where it benefits them."

That was a theme that was important to Temple's superintendent, Dr. Robin Battershell, who emphasized Monday what she said when the search began back in December - that she wanted a person who would work to bring Temple to "the pinnacle of success in sports, fine arts and academics."

Although Spradlin and Battershell said it's unclear when Spradlin will begin work full-time in Temple, he already is going to begin working on building the family atmosphere. He planned to meet with freshman athletes after the school board meeting and hoped to make appearances at Temple's girls' soccer and basketball games tonight.

Girls soccer coach Oscar Bersoza was a member of the eight-person interview committee responsible for picking the initial group of finalists. The committee unanimously picked Spradlin as its top choice for the job, and Bersoza said it wasn't a hard decision.

"I knew Temple needed a winner, and Coach Spradlin is a winner," he said. "Even in the interview process, he just exudes confidence. He talked about mentorship and brotherhood. He's a winner and someone who is going to step out and say, 'It's not just about football. I'm here for all sports and willing to help out.' I'm excited and look forward to what he has to say."

Spradlin brings a four-school, 12-season head coaching record of 80-54 - he led Cooper to the third round of the state playoffs the last three years - to a struggling Temple program that's 37-77 with one postseason victory in the last 11 seasons under David Beal (2000-02), Tam Hollingshead (2003-04) and Bryce Monsen (2005-10).

Monsen had a 19-43 record in six seasons and guided the team to 5A state playoff trips in 2007 and '08, both resulting in first-round losses. After Temple finished its 1-9 season in November, Battershell informed Monsen that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the school year.

Spradlin said he looks forward to the challenge of turning Temple around, adding that he wanted to make the playoffs his first season as the Wildcats' head coach.

"I really don't like to use the term 'rebuilding' because one of the things I am going to talk to the current kids about is they won't want to be on a five-year plan; they want to be on a five-minute plan," he said. "That's the first thing we tried to attack when we went to Cooper.

"I want to be (in the playoffs) in Year 1, but we are going to do it right. We are not going to sacrifice doing it right for that to happen. We are going to take care of the kids and care about them. They can't care unless you care. We want to build those relationships to get them competitive. How fast we get (to the playoffs) depends on how fast they buy into what we are trying to do. And I think they will buy in quickly."

Prior to taking over at Cooper in 2006, Spradlin was at the University of Houston, his alma mater, where he was the offensive line coach from 2003-05 for current Baylor coach and former Houston teammate Art Briles.

Spradlin said he and Briles have texted back and forth since he got the job but haven't talked because of the coaches' busy schedules.

"I've never been around a man who shaped my coaching more," Spradlin said of Briles.

Spradlin also had head coaching stints in Navasota and Round Rock Westwood and said because he recruited Central Texas for Briles he has become somewhat familiar with the district he is joining, 12-5A.

"We played Copperas Cove and Killeen," he said. "Recruiting the area I'm familiar with some of the fieldhouses around here and I've got a good feel for the competition and the coaching staffs."

But his big focus is in house. He plans to visit with the staffs and athletes at the middle schools and make sure they are part of the family atmosphere, adding that the fact that Temple is a one-high-school town was one of the attractions to the job, which will allow him to build the program from the ground up.

And he understands that while he wants to see Temple succeed in all of its endeavors, he will be here primarily to coach football.

"It's been my experience, and no disrespect to any other department because football is not more important, but it can drive the ship," Spradlin said. "If we can be successful if our players do right and act right, we can be successful. And that can serve as a vehicle to change the culture and get everybody on board. Next thing you know, our other teams are winning because they feed off of that."


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