HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Greenwood hires Jared Sanderson as next head football coach, athletic director

Greenwood ISD has found its next head football coach and athletic director.

The district unanimously approved Levelland’s Jared Sanderson at a school board meeting Wednesday night to take over the Rangers’ program. Sanderson replaces Shad Hanna, who led the Rangers for seven seasons before departing the district last month.

“We’re just trying to give our kids the best opportunity we can and not just football — he’s the athletic director, so it covers a lot of territory within our district,” Greenwood ISD Superintendent Ariel Elliott said. “We’re just hoping for Coach Sanderson to keep moving us forward. He’s been very successful and he’s young and energetic.”

In 2016, Sanderson led Levelland to a 10-4 record and a Class 4A Division I state quarterfinals appearance.

Sanderson spearheaded the Lobos as quarterback Nick Gerber broke the Texas high school record for touchdown passes in a season (77).

“They had a great year this year and he kind of turned around a school that hasn’t won in years,” Elliott said about Sanderson. “I think he’s done a good job with that and I think he’s hard-nosed and he’s a defensive guy, but he’s known for offense, but he’s a really a defensive guy.”

Sanderson is very familiar with football in Texas. He’s a Breckenridge native and played college football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene before his time at Levelland.

The move to Greenwood also brings the Sanderson family closer to relatives. Coach Sanderson’s wife is a Baird native.

Sanderson and his wife sat down after the Lobos’ season ended and thought it was time for a change. When the Greenwood job opened up, Sanderson thought the move would be ideal.

“I have always been intrigued by the kids, just watching their kids’ game film or watching them actually compete,” Sanderson said about Rangers’ athletes. “They got great kids and I’ve always thought that. They play hard and they’re well mannered.

“I thought it would be a good fit for us and a great place to raise a family and I threw my name in the hat and here we are.”

Sanderson will have his first day with the district sometime next week and wants to get started right away to figure out how to best win on Friday nights.

“It’s going to be based on what our kids can do,” Sanderson said about the Rangers’ upcoming playing style. “I think all good coaches need to adapt. We’re going to come in and we’re going to have a base that’s going to be a spread look, but if we need to get into two-back and run the football, we’re going to run the football.

“We’re going to do what it takes to win football games. I’d love to go out and score 70 points a game, that’d be fun, but we got to make sure we’re doing things that benefit our kids and help us win.”

Sanderson also takes pride in the fact that he runs an entire athletic department.

“I want to be successful at everything and that’s something that we’ve really worked hard to try to accomplish in Levelland,” Sanderson said. “Every sport made it to postseason play last year at Levelland and we’re on our way to doing that again this year. We’re going to win and we’re going be successful in everything and that’s my expectation.”

That quick transition from program-to-program will give the Greenwood community plenty of time to get to know Sanderson before the 2017-18 school year starts.

“Just getting to know him, he’s a great Christian man, his values stood out,” Elliott said. “I don’t believe that he was out applying for jobs everywhere. I think it was a good marriage. This is somewhere he would like to be and he was somebody we thought would be great for us.

“I think (the Sandersons) realized that this was a community that they would like to bring their kids to and let us grow together.”

Elliott said he believes the district is in great hands moving forward.

“His hard work and values and energy will translate to positives for our kids and really it’s about the kids,” Elliott said. “It’s not about the coach and we want to give the kids the best opportunity we can and I think Jared will bring that to our kids.”