After six seasons at Alice, a Class 4A school in South Texas, Kyle Atwood was approved by the Holliday ISD school board as the new head football Coach and Athletic director at a meeting Wednesday.
He replaces Frank Johnson who retired in December after 21 years as a head coach. Johnson went 88-36 in 10 seasons with the Eagles, winning at least 10 games in the last six. The Eagles made four appearances in the state quarterfinals during his tenure and are coming off consecutive undefeated regular seasons, finishing 13-1 each year.
Atwood will remain with the Alice ISD until Feb. 20.
“(Holliday) is closer to family; closer to my wife’s job at Angelo State,” Atwood said. “It has a really good administrative group, that I felt after visiting with, will move me forward in my career with their support. It is an overall Athletic department and school district that has a Championship Mindset and wants to excel in everything they do. We are excited to get started there and hopefully take that place to the next level.”
Atwood went 35-29 in six seasons at Alice, including four playoff wins and three seasons of at least eight wins. His career record is 53-64 in 11 years, including five at Class 3A Grape Creek, near San Angelo.
His high-water mark came in 2017, his first year in Alice, when the Coyotes went 9-4 and advanced to the regional semifinals, when they were still competing in Class 5A.
Atwood sees similarities in the high expectations at both programs.
“There was a need and desire to win at Alice and that helped me to be a better Coach and Athletic director,” Atwood said. “Knowing in the back of my mind the expectation to be successful. We did that in every single sport we competed in for six years. I was very proud of all that we accomplished. Holliday is the exact same way. The high expectations help to keep you on your game as a head coach. There is a pressure to win and you will never be lacking in drive.”
Holliday competes in District 6-3A Division II in football and District 7-3A in other sports.
Atwood becomes the 20th head Coach in the Holliday program’s history but just the sixth since 1974. There were around 60 applicants for the job with 13 receiving formal interviews, according to Holliday ISD superintendent Cody Carroll.
Atwood intends to evaluate the Holliday program, build on what is already successful and find what it will take to get the program to new heights.
“We’ll get in there, evaluate what we are currently doing, what we need to be doing strength and condition-wise in order for us to get our kids as strong, fast, physical, and mentally strong as they need to be to compete for a state championship,” Atwood said. “We’ll look at the Offensive and defensive schemes and see what fits our kids. Over the course of 11 years, we’ve had years where we were almost straight five wide. Years where we were in tight end and H-back sets . Years where we were more RPO. Our system is developed to suit the kids.”
Holliday’s identity has been its wing-T offense and dominant defense, but at least the offense will change under Atwood, who has employed a spread scheme.
“Over the next few months we will figure out what is best for our kids and what we can do that will be the easiest transition for them and most effective on a Friday night,” Atwood said. “Then we will start installing that through May, June and July. It will be fun and a heck of a lot of work, but I’m ready and I think the kids of Holliday will be ready as well.”
Wichita Falls Times Record News journalist Jonathan Hull contributed to this report.