Saturday, June 23, 2018
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20180122 TomLeeThe Sharyland ISD school board made its decision Monday when it tapped Pioneer High School Athletic Coordinator Tom Lee to be the new head football coach for the Diamondbacks.

Lee returns to the football field after four years away from the game in which he served as  athletic coordinator and head coach of the Pioneer track team. He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to lead the Diamondbacks out on the football field in the school district that he loves.

“I sat down with my wife about a month ago and talked about whether I wanted to get back to coaching football again,” Lee said. “When you’ve done it for so many years, it’s in your blood. When you get an opportunity to do it in the school district that you love to do it in, it would have been really hard to pass up that opportunity. Getting back in those trenches is going to be an unbelievable experience.”

Lee has 20 years of experience as a football coach, including a 24-37 record as Head Coach at his alma mater Mission High School from 2003-2008. He led Mission to two playoff appearances in six seasons. After serving as the head ball coach of the Eagles, Lee made the jump to Sharyland High School where he served as an assistant coach under Fred Sanchez, and later, current Rattler Head Coach Ron Adame.

He brings with him a familiarity, as he already has an established relationship with many members of the Pioneer football team, working with them on the track, basketball court or football field in some capacity.

“Talked to all the high school kids on Tuesday, freshmen through varsity, and I got a great reception,” he said. “The good thing is I know most of these kids, I’ve been here the last four years and I’ve coached them in some capacity in either track or football or basketball. It’s nice to be able to walk into a place where you know a lot of the kids and what they stand for.”

Lee will step down as the Diamondbacks head track and field coach and hand over the reigns to Dave Munson, who will take over the head coaching duties of the track team on an interim basis. Lee said he’d like to focus on football and his position as athletic coordinator, but would still work with the track and field team in some way.

He takes over a program that had found success in the last two seasons after just opening its doors four years ago.

The head coaching vacancy of the Diamondback football team opened in November when Jason Wheeler was reassigned. Wheeler led Pioneer to a 23-19 record in his four years, qualifying for the playoffs in 2016 and 2017, and bringing home a share of the 31-5A District Championship in 2016.

The Diamondbacks went 6-5 in Wheeler’s last season, falling in the bi-district round of the playoffs to Mercedes 68-31.

Lee credited the coaching staff for building Pioneer into a winning program as well as keeping the kids focused and working hard in the transition period between head coaches. Defensive coordinator Robert Bocanegra was in charge of the offseason program while the head coach position was vacant.

“The coaching staff here did a good job the last two years,” Lee said. With any head coach, you want to take your team as far as you can in the playoffs and we did it twice. You’re in this game, there’s nothing like it, going to watch a football game on Friday night. We want to make sure our kids are having the best experience and find that love for the game that’s crucial if you want to be successful. It’s going to be exciting that first game back, I’ve been out for four years, it’ll be nice to step foot back on that field on a Friday night and see what the Diamondbacks can do.”