Matt Weber was all smiles as he tried on a Pauls Valley hat for the first time this week as the Panthers’ brand new head football coach.
All five local school board members made it official Wednesday night by voting to make Weber the next coach of the football program here. He follows Bill Green, who stepped down after a two-year stint.
Along with Weber, his wife Trisha Weber was also formally hired as an elementary teacher for the coming 2015-2016 school year.
“This is a great opportunity and a great place,” the 42-year-old Matt Weber said as he comes to PV with plenty of experience as a coach and science teacher.
“My family is looking for a place we can call home,” he said, also referring to their two boys, Cody, 10 years old, and Brenden, 6.
“I’m excited to get going. I’ve been thinking about all the things I have to have to put together a good program.”
With his hiring now official, Weber plans on coming over to Pauls Valley a couple of times a week as he gets started in his new job.
One of the first things he plans to do is talk to a group of PV seniors and juniors as the coach is looking to recruit more players from the pool of students here now.
“The priority is to get the numbers back up. I would say we need 50 or more players for a school this size.
“There’s strength in numbers. We need to get more kids involved in football,” he said.
Weber is a 1991 graduate of Davis High School in neighboring Murray County, where he played for his father and former longtime Davis coach, Joe Weber.
“I’m not an X’s and O’s system guy,” Matt said. “My dad and my brother ran the wishbone at Davis. The system I run depends on the type of kids I have. I fit the system to the kids.
“On defense the number one thing is chasing the football. Everyone needs to run to the football. That’s what I want us to do on defense.”
Weber’s resume includes working as an assistant coach at Harrah and Carl Albert before getting his first head coaching job at Marlow.
He spent the last seven years as the head coach for the tradition rich Ada Cougars football program.
“Pauls Valley’s had its ups and downs, but there is talent here. I coached against Pauls Valley when I was at Marlow. They’ve had some talented teams that we played against,” Weber said.
“Obviously the goal is to be a winning team. To be a high level program we need to consistently make the playoffs. We need to be a solid team with a few playmakers sprinkled in there.
“Winning cures a lot of things. Winning can start to fill the stands and bring a sense of pride for the community. That’s what we’re going to try to help bring everyone in town in the fall.”
The new coach believes it’s a priority to give perspective to his players, which means also keeping an eye on allowing for a bit of fun.
“What we’re doing is supposed to be having fun. Winning is a lot more fun, but we need to keep that in perspective.
“I want the players to know they will be part of something bigger than themselves. We’re not going to put the pressure on them. We’ll just play football.
“We want to give them the time to be kids.
“When it’s time to play football that’s what we’ll do. Winning is important but this ought to be fun. That’s what I want to bring to them.”
Besides football, Weber said he also loves to get some fishing in when time allows.