KERMIT Probably no other coach in West Texas knows the Permian Basin as well as Kermit head coach John Fellows.

The former Alpine head coach was hired earlier this year and comes to town with a proven track record of success in West Texas.

His previous stops include Alpine, Iraan and McCamey where he posted a 102-75 overall record.

Now, after eight years of coaching the Bucks, Fellows is ready for the next challenge of his career as he takes over a Kermit program that’s had a few postseason appearances but not much else to show in the last couple of years.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 4-7 overall (2-2 in District 1-3A DI) record from 2022 which included a bi-district appearance.

Not only that but Fellows is also the third different head coach in the last four years in Kermit as he takes over from Nate Gensler who resigned back in January.

However, Fellows has been upbeat during the first week of practice.

“The first week of practice has so far been pretty good,” Fellows said. “The first day was a little slow but the second day, we picked things up and the kids are really taking to it. That third day may be a little sluggish but the kids are working hard and they’re hustling hard. That’s all you can ask.”

Kermit head coach John Fellows watches during practice Wednesday at Walton Stadium in Kermit. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

While he’s coached against Kermit in the past (as well as many of the teams that are on the Yellow Jackets’ schedule this year), Fellows said that there are still plenty of challenges when taking over at a new school.

“I think anytime you start a new job, there are always new things that you have to do and every job is different,” Fellows said. “It’s stressful because like most coaches out there, I’m my own biggest critic. We’re going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get things going here in Kermit.”

Kermit head coach John Fellows, right, watches during his team’s practice Wednesday at Walton Stadium in Kermit. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

Like with any new head coach, there will always be plenty of new faces on the staff and Fellows, as well as his players, know that.

“Our biggest thing this week is that our whole coaching staff is brand new,” Fellows said. “The kids are brand new so we’re trying to get to know the kids and the old analogy of getting the right people on the bus and we’re going to get them in the right seats. That’s what this week is all about.”

The players and the coaches have wasted no time in getting everyone up to speed as Fellows knows there’s no time to lose between now and the first game of the season.

“It’s fast and furious,” Fellows said. “But I will say this about the staff; they’ve all been here since July 10 so we’ve had a lot of meetings and we’ve gotten a lot of things done. A lot of the coaches hadn’t seen the kids until the first day of practice. It’s been about getting to know each other.”

Kermit head coach John Fellows, back, sets up a drill during practice Wednesday at Walton Stadium in Kermit. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

The Yellow Jackets bring back five starters on offense and defense from last year.

The expectations are still high, like with any other program in the state and junior quarterback Mauricio Perez has been excited to begin practices this week.

“It’s been going well,” Perez said.” We’ve been grinding. Things have been looking good. I think we’re going to do well this year.”

Some of the things that will be different this season at Kermit is the emphasis on speed.

Kermit quarterback Mauricio Perez, center, hands the ball off during a play in practice Wednesday at Walton Stadium in Kermit. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

“It’s the playing style,” Perez said. “We’re a lot faster this year.”

The Yellow Jackets are in a five-team district with Brownfield, Denver City, Slaton and Lamesa.

Kermit will begin the season on Aug. 25 on the road against Miles before facing Crane at home the following week at Walton Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets will begin district play against Lamesa on Oct. 6 at home.