By MIKE IBANEZ
The second Michael Odle era at Lewisville High School began Monday night.
Odle, who quarterbacked the 1996 Class 5A Division I state championship Farmer team, was approved as the new LHS head coach at Monday’s Lewisville ISD board meeting. He takes over for Gregg Miller, who resigned in March.
The coaching announcement was met with fanfare uncommon for most board meetings. LHS cheerleaders greeted visitors at the door and a contingent of jersey-wearing football players and uniformed Farmerettes were on hand for a photo opportunity with Odle.
“Lewisville is a special place and community,” Odle said in a statement released by LISD Monday night. “It’s a place that gave me so much as a kid, and it’s my turn to give back. I’m overwhelmingly excited to come home and impact these student-athletes’ lives like mine was as a Farmer. I bleed maroon and white, and I’m happy to be home with the Farmer community.”
It didn’t take long for Odle to settle into his new position. He threw out the first pitch at the LHS home baseball game against LD Bell on Tuesday and tweeted a photo of Farmer players participating in off-season workouts on Thursday, adding “These boys came to work today with a purpose! Farmer Pride is alive and here to stay.”
Area residents will be able to get a glimpse of what an Odle-coached Farmer team will look like at the spring football scrimmage, scheduled to take place on May 25 at Max Goldsmith Stadium.
Odle takes over a LHS team that finished 3-7 a year ago, including an 0-5 end to the season after an inspiring 41-14 win over rival Flower Mound Marcus. To make matters worse, the bulk of the talent on that team graduated. Six seniors, including four-star wide receiver recruit Tyrell Shavers, signed college scholarships.
The most glaring inefficiency on the 2016 team was the inability to consistently and accurately deliver the ball to the ultra-talented Shavers, whose senior statistics were not indicative of his abilities. Outgoing coach Gregg Miller resorted to playing Shavers at quarterback at the end of the season, a desperate attempt to put the ball in the Alabama recruit’s hands.
Top returnees entering spring practice are linebacker Emmanuel Adebayo, running back De’Mondrick Hunter and defensive back Kevin Anderson. Hunter’s availability in the spring could be limited, as he is a starting infielder on the Farmer baseball team.
One of Odle’s priorities will be to identify a group of players who can compete for the starting quarterback position this spring, and eventually settle on one going into the fall.
He should have plenty to draw from at other positions, however, as there are resources that played at the sub-varsity level last season. Anderson, a starter in the secondary, was the only sophomore on the LHS varsity roster in a season where Miller chose to keep other talented youngsters at the junior varsity level for seasoning.
Those younger players put together winning records for both junior varsity squads. The JV Maroon team, consisting of mostly juniors, went 6-2-2 and counted wins over Euless Trinity and Marcus. The sophomore–heavy JV White team went 8–2, including a 37-0 win over Southlake Carroll and an 40-8 win over Marcus.
Sophomore running back TJ Daniels shined for the Maroon squad, and will likely compete for playing time this spring. Junior Tyler Urban quarterbacked the team.
Odle leaves behind three of the best returning offensive players in the DFW area. Hebron quarterback Clayton Tune, a Kansas commit, passed for 2,445 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Wide receivers Jaren Mitchell and Trejan Bridges combined for 1,735 yards receiving.
The Hawks beat Plano East in bi-district before falling to Duncanville 52-7 in the area round of the playoffs. They defeated LHS 51-27 behind Tune’s 316 yards passing.
If Tune’s progression as a quarterback is an indication of the tutelage Odle will provide to future Farmer signal-callers, the future will be bright. Tune threw for 1,825 yards as a sophomore prior to exploding for his junior total with only 10 more passing attempts. He also ran for 512 yards last season.
Check out this clip of fourth quarter action from the 1996 title game.
Here’s raw video from the LISD board meeting: