State of Anahuac sports

This isn’t Greg Neece’s first rodeo when it comes to running an athletic program and a football team at the same time.

But it also doesn’t hurt that when he took both responsibilities at Anahuac beginning in April, Neece knew plenty about the Panthers and what they offer as an athletic program.

Neece took over the athletic director and head football coaching posts after spending two years as the offensive coordinator at Newton High School during two straight unbeaten Class 3A championship seasons and before that worked the same posts at Kirbyville as he will now at Anahuac.

Neece was at Kirbyville from 2005-2016 – head football coach and athletic director for the final six seasons – and saw Anahuac in district play on occasion while winning two district titles and making multiple playoff runs.

Neece has replaced coaches in most Anahuac sports and tied those posts to being on his football staff. 

“I was able to hire some real good coaches and I am still in the process of filling a couple of other spots,” Neece said. “As a head coach and an AD, you want to surround yourself with quality people. You are only as good as the people around you.

“I trust them and they trust me. That’s been a good process for me and making me more comfortable and excited about the future.”

Neece has taken time to vet his athletes and has come away impressed with the level of talent at Anahuac.

“They are also young,” Neece said. “Every time I ask about a kid, it’s ‘Coach, he’s a sophomore, he’s a freshman.’ So I am excited about the youth. We also have some good seniors who are coming back too.”

Neece took over an athletic program that struggled last year with very few programs making a dent on the Class 3A landscape other than some individual performances in track and the baseball team finishing 14-11 and just outside the playoffs.

“Coaching is a tough gig and sometimes you have talent and sometimes you don’t,” Neece said. “We haven’t been in the playoffs for a while. Boys sports, the big three – baseball, football, basketball – didn’t make the playoffs this year. I am trying to bring a championship culture.”

Neece wants his culture to show that practices are tougher than any game and earn playoff berths in football and other sports.

“It’s not OK to be average. I see with our boys sports programs that we have enough talent that we should be in the playoffs or at least be in the conversation,” Neece said.

Neece believes it all starts with instilling confidence and work ethic and he saw some of that while he had a chance to build a relationship with his football squad.

“They need to see what hard work does and we have to put them in the best position to win,” Neece said. 

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