Great Bend's Black hired for Hays football




Special to The Telegram

With the exception of his days as a college football player, Bo Black hasn't missed many high school football games since he was able to walk.

"It's been a huge part of my life. My dad was a head football coach down there in Texas for 32 years," Black said. "I've been on the sideline since I was 5 years old. It's just part of who I am and part of my family."

Football took Black from being a high school quarterback under his father in Elkhart, Texas, to playing at Sam Houston State University and Emporia State University, to coaching 13 seasons at Great Bend High School.

On Tuesday, the 41-year-old Black announced an end to his run at Great Bend after accepting the position as head football coach at Hays High School. He will replace Ryan Cornelsen, who resigned after five seasons at HHS to take over Hutchinson High School's football program next season. That domino-effect came about when Hutch's Randy Dreiling resigned after 17 seasons leading the Salthawks to seven state championships.

Black's hire is pending approval from the Hays USD 489 Board of Education, which will meet March 10.

Black, one of six who interviewed for the Hays High job, was 83-47 (.638) in 13 years at Great Bend, winning eight Western Athletic Conference championships and making eight playoff appearances. He guided the Panthers to the 2006 Class 5A state title game before losing to Blue Valley 34-3.

"From the coaching standpoint of things it just felt like it was time to go, time for new challenges, and time to start something different," Black said. "It all happened really fast, and we are still trying to get our feet underneath us, but here we are. It's been exciting, and it's been fun, and I feel like I'm 25 again with another big challenge."

Prior to taking over at Great Bend when he was 27, Black spent five years as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Lancaster High School, near Dallas. He graduated from Emporia State University where he was a defensive back on the football team. His first two seasons in college were spent at Sam Houston State, where he played football and ran track.

Black's wife, Stefanie, is the daughter of a former ESU athletic director and is No. 11 all-time in scoring for the ESU women's basketball team, having played from 1989-1993. They have two children: Hannah, 12, and Ty, 11.

"Quite honestly, I married a little bit over my head," Black joked. "She was going to move back to Dallas with me but I promised her when we had kids that we would move closer to her parents. Then the Great Bend job opened up. I applied for it and interviewed and at the time Great Bend had had one winning season in 20 years. I don't think a lot of people wanted the job and I was too young and dumb to know any different."

Black made a name for himself as an offensive mind, where he likes to run a pass-first spread offense. He plans to bring this philosophy to Hays High, which from a personnel standpoint should be a perfect match for Black's system.

Black visited Hays High School on Tuesday, where he was able to briefly meet with members of the football team.

"It won't be a big change, but it will be a change and we'll have to get used to it. It will be good for us though," said junior Brady Werth. Werth, a tight end, figures to be a feature weapon for the Indians' offense next season under Black. "He seems like a good guy. I'm excited to see what he is like."

On top of coaching football, Black will be the head track and field coach as well as the P.E. teacher, essentially taking over the exact roles Cornelsen had. He won't make the move to Hays High until the summer and plans to finish out the spring coaching track and field at Great Bend.

Black has been very successful as a track coach, guiding the Great Bend girls to the 2007 Class 5A state title. He also was a state champion runner in Texas at Elkhart High School and briefly ran track in college.

He will inherit a Hays High track and field program that enters the spring having won the previous four Class 5A boys' track and field championships.

"We were looking for someone who has not only had success in football, but also in track, because we've been very successful in our track program and want to continue that success as well," Hays High Athletic Director Clint Albers said.

"At the end of the day, the interview committee met and chose him as our best applicant and the person we wanted to lead our program and be a P.E. teacher for us and lead both our football and track programs into the future."

Note: In his 13 seasons at Great Bend, Black's teams posted a 9-4 record against Garden City, including a 28-25 upset of the Buffs in 2013. Black's teams had a five-game winning streak from 2003 to 2007 while Garden City posted back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009.

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