Apollo High School and Owensboro Catholic High School are two programs that are steeped in sports tradition, and football is no exception. This year both programs will have new coaches on the sideline, yet neither one is lacking in experience.
The new head coach for the Eagles is Phil Hawkins, who held the same position at Louisville Doss. Owensboro Catholic’s Jason Morris was promoted from his assistant position to take over the play calling.
Hawkins comes to Apollo with 22 years of coaching experience, four of those as head coach at Louisville Doss, where he completely transformed the program into a highly recruitable pool of players for Division I colleges.
Hawkins’ college mentality translates to his rosters, where he’s created a depth chart for his players based on skill, effort, attendance and classroom performance. Where they fall on the depth chart determines their level of play — ones and twos are considered varsity level, while threes and fours include junior varsity and freshman players.
“This not only teaches players how to self-assess, it also gives the guys an opportunity to play that don’t get to compete on Friday night,” he said.
Morris has been coaching for the last 15 years, with the last two as assistant coach alongside John Edge. Even though Morris was head coach at McLean County for a season, this will be his first season as head coach for Catholic.
“Anytime you have a new leader, they want to put their stamp on the program,” Morris said.
A former offensive coordinator, Morris plans to put his stamp on the defensive side of the ball. He said fans can also expect to see more players playing both sides of the football and more team speed on defense. While the on-field results are important, Morris said that’s not all he cares about.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing seniors continue to grow,” he said. “The relationship and trust we’ve built has been pretty special.”