Former Dawgs take over as new AD/Head Coaches for Edna, Riesel
By TJ MAXWELL
Cove graduate Robert Draper and longtime Cove assistant coach Keith Stifflemire have new job duties.
Draper and Stifflemire will take over as the athletic director and head football coaches for Edna and Riesel, respectively.
Cove alum Draper was promoted from offensive coordinator to athletic director and head football coach for the Class 3A Edna Indians after former coach Jerry Long resigned after just two seasons at the helm following an arrest for an improper relationship between an educator and a student.
“This is a great opportunity,” Draper said in an interview with Mike Forman of the Victoria Advocate. “I didn’t think it would come in this manner, but at least it’s in a good situation. The thing about it is I’m taking over a program that I helped establish and that’s what I thought was a great motivator for this.”
Draper played football for former coach Hal Mumme at Copperas Cove and again at Iowa Wesleyan where he also played under Texas Tech legend Mike Leach.
Draper began his coaching career at Sweeney before spending four years in Needville and 13 seasons in Liberty Hill where the Panthers won two state championships in 2006 and 2007 and had winning seasons every year except 2009.
Draper adopted the Slot-T after years of working under Jerry Vance and introduced it to the Indians in his first year at Edna.
He begins his second year at Edna as head coach after helping Long take the Indians to the Region IV finals against Yoakum as the offensive coordinator in last year’s playoffs.
Draper was promoted by a unanimous vote by the Edna board of Trustees in a May 1 special meeting.
“We told the kids we did a good job,” Draper said in an interview with Mike Forman of the Victoria Advocate. “This happened, he made a mistake, let’s move on, keep your mouth shut and let’s go. Kids are resilient. They understand that me and the other assistants are the ones who have been with them in the practices, been there in the early-morning workout sessions. We’re there with them and we understand them and we’re trying to move forward that way.”
Stifflemire coached for the Bulldawgs for nearly a decade before leaving for Gatesville last year.
Stiflemire returns to Riesel after stints at Port Isabel, Los Fresnos and as AD/head football coach at Evant for seven years before spending the last decade at Copperas Cove and Gatesville. He was defensive coordinator for Riesel from 1999-2001.
He replaces Robert Little who took the same position at Taylor ISD.
Stifflemire credits his nine seasons under long time Copperas Cove coach Jack Welch and one year under Gatesville’s Kyle Cooper for his approach.
“Both guys emphasize trying to teach young men to grow up to be great adults and great parents and I think that is one of the great things I’ve learned from being with those guys,” Stifflemire said during an interview with KCENTV. “To be able to teach kids to do what’s right and maybe shape their lives’ one day, that opportunity opened itself and I thought it would be a great time to do it.”
Stifflemire, who had the pleasure of coaching his son Kyle as head track coach for the last four years, will take a little break this weekend to watch his son compete for the Class 4A pole vault title before getting on to business in Riesel.