George West athletic director/head football coach Brent Kornegay recently announced he would be retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year, marking the end of a 32-year coaching career highlighted by head football coaching gigs in Yoakum and Orange Grove, as well as George West.
A 1984 graduate of George West High School who completed his bachelor’s degree at Texas Lutheran University in 1989, Kornegay began his coaching career in Yoakum with a two-year stint as a junior high coach. He then took a job in Devine, staying for three years before accepting a position in Llano, where he coached for seven years.
Kornegay was the head coach in Orange Grove for eight years, Yoakum for six years, and was hired at his alma mater of George West High School in 2015. Kornegay compiled a 52-13 record at George West, winning or sharing three district titles, and finished with a head coaching record of 124-73.
The decision to retire is one that has been on Kornegay’s mind for some time, but a desire to spend more time with Katherine, his wife of nearly 30 years, helped make his choice clear.
“It was a family decision,” Kornegay said. “We bought a place north of Fredericksburg about two years ago, and that’s where my wife and I would like to be.”
One of the aspects of the job Kornegay has treasured the most is how his time with his athletes can mold their future.
“I think (my fondest memory) is the impact you get an opportunity to make on kids’ lives,” Kornegay said. “I tell them all the time they’ll realize it someday, I don’t know when it’ll be, but hopefully I had an impact on them and our coaching staff, but more importantly, the impact they had on our lives.
“That was really important. The opportunity to get to coach my own kids, Stephanie (who went on to run collegiate track at Tarleton State and was a state qualifier and Yoakum High School record holder in the 300-meter hurdles) and Tyler, and have them basically with me during the athletic setting was something I’ll never forget.
“Obviously Tyler came to George West his senior year, and it was a really neat deal for him and me whenever I got the job that he got to graduate from the same high school that I did, and these kids accepted him as one of their own. He then went to Angelo State and played (wide receiver). When you get to coach your own kids, in addition to all the other kids that I’ve been blessed to coach during these 32 years, it’s really neat.”
One of the key aspects of a high school athletics program involves making sure the student-athletes are prepared to think about their future.
“I tell the kids the most important thing is for you to be successful when you graduate,” Kornegay said. “Be a good husband, be a good dad. Those are things that I think make athletics so cool because it gives you as an individual the opportunity to teach kids life lessons for them to be an integral part of society and do things right.”
In coaching, one can gain necessary information by listening to others around them.
“You’re going to learn every single day,” Kornegay said. “You need to learn as much as you can every single day, and don’t ever think that you know more than anybody else, because in this profession, I don’t care if you’ve done it 32 years or 15 years or whatever, it doesn’t matter, you’re going to continue to learn if you want to do it right.
“Some of those guys that I’ve worked for before have forgotten more football than I know. Also, don’t be afraid to tell kids you love them. I think that’s a lost art in today’s world.”
GWISD superintendent Dr. Roland Quesada noted the difficult task ahead in replacing Kornegay.
“I have only known Brent for two years since I came in from Corpus Christi,” Quesada said. “Based on my observations, this gentleman has been a class act and role model for students. He is well respected by our community and staff. He is all business. Filling his vacancy will be no easy task.”
Kornegay already has made plans for his next chapter.
“Fortunately, we’ve got a little bit of acreage, so I’m going to spend some time on that, and then I’m going to sell insurance for Farm Bureau,” Kornegay said. “Just the idea of kind of doing what I want to do is enticing.”