Greg Neece was hired as the football coach and athletic director for Anahuac High School in April and the effects from that hire are now being felt.
Neece announced sweeping changes of the Panther coaching staff in the past few weeks as the athletic department will see new hires for both basketball and soccer programs, track, golf, tennis and baseball, while volleyball (Lauren Brandon) and softball (Shannon Talbott) coaches will remain in place.
So far, Neece’s new hires include Jeff Bennett (baseball), Stewart Bond (golf), Steve Fentress (track), girls basketball (Antoinette Brown) and boys basketball (Cornelius Brown).
Neece said all of these new hires will also be members of his football coaching staff.
As new basketball coach, Brown will try to rebuild a program that won only one game last season.
He has been the head basketball coach at district rivals Kirbyville for the past three years.
“We played them six times during those three years so I know what they have,” Brown said. “There is a young core. They have a post player who moved away and came back who I am excited to work with. They had a pretty down year last year, but the young group with what I bring, I think we will be better.”
He is also excited to work with Neece again after teaming up at Kirbyville again and will lead the junior high program to get Neece’s younger players ready for the high school level.
Bennett has been a head baseball coach for 15 years and comes over from Beaumont United, where he began the program and prior to that, he worked at Kirbyville for seven years.
“I am looking forward to it, It’s going to be a good challenge,” Bennett said. “Me being paired with Coach Neece again – he hired me eight years ago in Kirbyville and entrusted that program to me.”
He inherits a baseball team that finished 14-14 overall and just a game out of the Class 3A playoff picture.
“They were a game here and a game there from making the playoffs,” Bennett said. “There is definitely a base to start with and the thing that I like is that they were young with only three seniors. I know that being in the same district with Anahuac in the past that they competed. I am looking forward to coming in and put my twist on that and hope they compete like they always have in the past.”
Fentress heads over to Anahuac from Newton where he was also the offensive line coach for a football program that won back-to-back, undefeated state titles.
“It’s an opportunity to work with Coach Neece again after working with him at Kirbyville and going to Newton to help him do some great things over there,” Fentress said. “He’s a great friend and I enjoy working with him. I felt like it was a good decision for me and my family.”
Fentress coached both boys and girls track at Newton and did the same at Kirbyville and is very optimistic about his prospects with the Panthers.