STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — When Burnet High School head baseball coach Todd Doucet resigned to take the same position at Llano High School, it only took a couple of days to find his replacement, someone with several championships under his belt and glowing references.
Burnet Consolidated Independent School District athletic director Kurt Jones tagged Austin’s McCallum High School coach Russell Houston for the position in late June.
“We brought him in and visited with him,” Jones said. “We were really blown away by the guy and were blown away by his resume. His references had nothing but great things to say about him.”
Houston guided McCallum to nine district championships in 11 years and 228 wins. He was also selected as this year’s 25-5A coach of the year in a unanimous decision by the other coaches in the district. He took a 2017 squad that had lost five starters and its top two pitchers from the previous year’s team to a 12-0 district record and title.
The key is to give Houston, who will also coach cornerbacks for the Burnet football team, time to mold the baseball program into what he wants, Jones added.
“I’ve no doubt that, given the time, he’ll make it strong,” he said. “His philosophy is the same as great winners. They don’t believe there’s magic dust. It’s about having great organization and working hard and encouraging people around you, including kids in the program. You do that well day after day, and success will come.”
The athletic director said Houston wasn’t the only strong candidate to apply for the job, even with the short time between Doucet’s resignation and Houston’s hire. Jones noted administrators interviewed a handful of candidates.
“You don’t want to rush and settle for someone who’s not the right person,” he said. “We were feeling like it wasn’t too late. (Houston) accepted, and we think he’ll do an outstanding job.”