Russell Joy is taking over from the departed Dan Garza, and he brings quite a history of playoff appearances over the years in smaller schools. Most recently, Joy was the offensive coordinator at Floresville but has plenty of head coaching experience at Mason and Ranger.
“He has a proven track record of making the playoffs. He wants to build his program from the junior high and up,” said STISD Superintendent Dr. Brett Belmarez.
Joy was an assistant coach back in 2002 at Bandera when they won it all and earned state champion status. At Mason, he had some epic battles with perennial power and eventual state champions Goldthwaite.
“We’ll run a pro-style I formation but will pass as much as we have to,” said Joy when asked about his offense. He prefers to keep the ball on the ground and describes his offense as “physical, tough, downhill-style football.”
On the other side, Joy will employ a 3-4 defense, which he feels is better suited to small school football. Most smaller schools have just a handful of big guys to man the line spots, but usually have several players who can man the linebacker positions and can get to the ball quickly, according to the new head coach.
Goals are not a top priority for Joy. He just wants to be one of the teams left standing at the end of the season and poised to make a run in the playoffs.
“Our non-district schedule is our preseason. Then our second season is district which gets us ready and positions us for the playoffs,” Joy said.
“And, when it’s over, we’ll focus on what to do to get better.”
Joy hit the ground running at S-T.
“I’ve already met just about all the players. They’re excited, just as I am,” he said.
Joy is also bringing in two coaches he has worked with over the years. Cody Fields and Bobby Smith will be the new additions to coach Joy’s Bobcat staff.
Joy is originally from Baird, a small town close to Abilene. He played high school sports and was going to go to Texas Tech to play baseball, but a shoulder injury sidelined that ambition.
Joy is a young man with quite a resume of successful experience as a head coach and athletic director. He is a family man; his wife, Richelle, and he have three daughters, Brianna, Avery and Skyler, who will make Skidmore home, hopefully for many years to come.