UIL athletic director talks football with Big Country coaches

Dr Susan Elza.jpg

The high school football season is still more than six months from kicking-off, but more than 100 area coaches were talking about the news of the sport on Saturday.

The Texas High School Coaches Association's Region II meeting was in Abilene and featured three distinguished speakers.

UIL athletic director Dr. Susan Elza, THSCA lobbyist Dr. Curtis Culwell, and legendary Hardin-Simmons football coach Jimmie Keeling spoke to the crowd about the important part they play in shaping high school students' lives.

Cooper athletic coordinator and head football coach Todd Moebes is the Region II senior director, and invited Dr. Elza to the event who jumped at the chance to be around Big Country coaches.

"The more we can be around them the better it is," said Dr. Elza, who was an assistant A.D. at Allen ISD and the A.D. at Northwest ISD before joining the UIL staff in 2015. "We don't want that us against them mentality.

"We're here to serve you. You need to talk us through what we need to do better, or what you're looking for in the way of rule changes. The UIL doesn't make those decisions. Our legislative council does, but we can shape and form those changes if it benefits sports in general, but in particular football. "

Dr. Elza updated the coaches on several things that could impact them, including the continuing push to have high school coaches involved with 7-on-7 football during the summer. Currently school coaches are prohibited from being involved in the activity, which has exploded in popularity with a massive state tournament sponsored by Adidas.

She also talked about changes that would create a coaching certification to help educate younger coaches, a new rule in 2020 that will force teams to have light numerals on dark jerseys and dark numerals on light jerseys.

As it stands the ruling is vague and its up to individual game officials to determine if there is a violation.

Dr. Elza also said she believes the UIL is "inching closer" to allowing video to be used during games, such as watching clips of plays in the locker room or even on the sideline.

Also at the meeting nominations were submitted for annual awards, coaches voted on UIL surveys and praised the THSCA for raising more than $86,000 for its benevolence fund which allowed the association to donate $60,000 to the Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Dr. Elza concluded her talk with some words of encouragement.

"It takes a great amount of grit to be in the coaching profession. When you use that grit, you get to dreams. Your dreams and the dreams of your players."

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