When Poteau High School athletic director Jerry Johnston really made known the opening for the head coaching job with the Poteau Pirates football team, he knew it was late in the game as far as trying to get someone hired and a chance to meet the players. The wait is now over.
Broken Bow's Greg Werner was hired to be the new Poteau football coach at Monday night's meeting of the Poteau Public Schools Board of Education.
Werner met Monday afternoon with the Pirate players, and met the Poteau Quarterback Club members and fans at the booster club's meeting that night.
The reason was twofold why Werner wanted to make himself a candidate for the job.
“No. 1, I'm from this area (a Fort Smith Northside graduate),” Werner said. “My mom is 15 minutes away, and my sister is nearby. That's the initial reason why. I also believe there's a great chance of success here. I think there's a great chance of this team having success. That was the big thing that brought me in I'm looking forward to it.”
Of course, Werner was able to see what the Pirates had since the Pirates and the Broken Bow Savages have been District 4A-4 rivals for many seasons.
“That was a consideration,” he said. “I wasn't going to come here if I didn't think there was going to be a chance of being successful. I kind of know what they've got, but again I really don't want to know what they've got. I want to start over. I want everybody to have a fresh start.”
The real Werner era for Poteau Pirate football will begin with this afternoon's high school football practice.
“No. 1, I've got to figure out who can do what — who can play,” Werner said. “That's the big thing because I don't know what they can do. I've got to find out what they can do.
“We just need to get on the field and get going. We've got to learn everything. We've got to learn the new terminology. We've got to teach how we're going to learn new things. That's going to be very important. We're just ready to get out there.”
One positive with Werner's hiring is that his family will be moving here, meaning his soon-to-be senior son, Jay — who is a tight end as well as plays on the defensive side of the ball — will become a Pirate.
“The biggest thing is the transition for him,” the new Poteau football coach said. “That's my priority. He's coming to a new school with new kids. It will almost be like going to college a year early. It's like starting over. It's going to be tough, but he'll be all right.”
Poteau Pirate fans may want to put down this date — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26. That is the Week 9 game between the Pirates and the Broken Bow Savages.
“I've been dreading that with every day,” Werner said. “I'm really not looking forward to that. It's just a game that we're going to play. It's going to be OK.”