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BURNET — Burnet school district officials had to tap the Garden State for one of the four coaching hires recently announced.

The hires are Stephanie Pegues in swimming, Mathew Howard in softball, Matthew Russell in girls soccer — all at the high school — and Cory Spivey as the Burnet Middle School boys athletic coordinator.

Pegues, who was an All-American swimmer at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, relocated to the area from the Garden State. Pegues started coaching in 1994 and also has a cross-country background.

“We had to search way far off to find her,” joked Kurt Jones, the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District athletics director. “We heard great things about her. I think we’re super pleased with being able to find her.”

Pegues replaces coach April Poerner, who will be teaching only.

Howard was the assistant softball coach at Abilene Cooper High School and brings plenty experience coaching on the club level. He also has been a private hitting and pitching coach.

“We’re excited about what he can bring,” Jones said. “As we interviewed him, we were very impressed with his ability to communicate. I believe his ability to communicate, his energy, and his unique ideas will be a draw for the softball program.”

Howard takes over from former coach B.J. Brown, who resigned.

The new girls soccer coach Russell’s most recent stops were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and at Smithville as head coach of both the boys and girls programs.

“I really believe we got another solid human being who is a burst of energy and outstanding character,” Jones said.

Russell replaces Wes Strahan, who retired.

Spivey will take over after former middle school coordinator Lance Jones joined the Burnet High School staff.

“Coach Spivey is perfect for that position,” Jones said. “He’s had such great experience in his career being an athletics director and head coach. It’s a no-brainer in terms of moving him to that spot.”

Spivey worked for Burnet in 1995, then went to a school in East Texas before landing as the head football coach and athletics director at Junction.

Jones said the search continues for a head tennis coach after Trey Bush resigned to return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.