Former Marble Falls coach still enjoys rebuilding programs

Eric Boettcher is happy.

The former Marble Falls High School girls basketball coach left at the end of the 2006-2007 school year after he was reassigned to Spicewood Elementary School as a physical education teacher.

The reassignment was difficult for a coach who had guided the Lady Mustangs to the Class 4A state tournament just one month earlier to complete a historic season. 

He had several options that spring, but he decided to go to an area where he could be close to his children and grandchildren.

Houston Second Baptist High School fit that bill.

Last weekend, Boettcher last brought his Second Baptist girls squad to the Burnet Tournament. The Fighting Eagles will play Austin High at 1:30 p.m. and Burnet at 6 p.m. today.

“I wanted to bring my girls to the Hill Country,” he said. “I thought the Burnet Tournament would be good. It’s a good time for our team to get away and bond together.”

Boettcher is in his second year at the school.

The Second Baptist boys basketball team played in the McDonald’s Classic hosted by Marble Falls. 

Boettcher’s girls squad’s pre-district record looks a lot like the Lady Mustangs’ when he coached at Marble Falls.

They’re 14-2 right now with only a 16-point loss to Cooper of The Woodlands and Burnet. But later in the week, Second Baptist beat Looper, 39-36.

The Fighting Eagles are 20th in the large private schools poll of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

“It’s Classes 4A and 5A combined,” he said. 

This squad reminds Boettcher of the 2004-2005 Marble Falls team led by Farren Fox, who is now at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Fox was the only senior on the roster, just like what Boettcher has now. 

“I believe our team will go into the playoffs,” he said. “It takes a while to turn things around.”

The coach enjoys taking a program that has not enjoyed playoff runs in several years and instilling his philosophy. That is no different with Second Baptist, he said.

“I think if you look back over my career, I’m a coach who likes to build a program,” he said. “I teach the fundamentals, the love of basketball. I’ll take a team that’s not very good, then get that team to be very good and get them to the next level. That’s what’s happening here.”

What he does not have right now are the kinds of athletes he had at Marble Falls. In addition to Fox, he coached Angela Akins, Ashley Laughlin, Marlena Ashby, Alaina Sivells, Kelsey Ansley, Katie Meador and Morgan Shell. These athletes went on to compete on the collegiate level in various sports. 

Laughlin and Akins were the seniors on the squad with Fox as a junior in 2003-2004. That was the season that Boettcher knew the program was going to be different, he said.

“We had crossed the line,” he said. “We were going to win a couple of playoff games.”

And while he sees improvement with his Second Baptist team, they don’t have the experience yet that Marble Falls enjoyed for a couple of years before making the historic march to the state tournament in 2006-2007.

The Second Baptist volleyball team won a state title the year before Boettcher arrived. 

He was their third basketball coach in three years. Boettcher offered stability. 

In his first year, the Fighting Eagles went 18-16. 

“We improved, but we didn’t make the playoffs,” he said. “I have a great bunch of girls.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com