Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Coker sets up summer plans for football

Larry Coker

UTSA football has taken the next step towards putting a product on the field with the hiring of three assistant coaches. Now the next step is to start building the team. Recently, Head Coach Larry Coker took the time to talk to the Paisano about what UTSA must do to make good on the promise of becoming the next great Texas football program.

The first step in fielding a team was the hiring of assistant coaches. In the last few weeks, Coker has hired the first three coaches in Roadrunner football history: Mike Menefee, Eric Roark and David Ross.

Menefee has had stops as head coach/athletic director at Edna, Texas, assistant coach at Texas A&M Kingsville and he was a player for Coker.

Roark was recruiting coordinator for Phil Fullmer at the University of Tennessee and Phil Bennett at Southern Methodist. He has head coaching experience at two division I-AA schools in Tennessee. He was most recently defensive coordinator at Grand Prairie High School near Dallas.

Ross has been a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State, started two programs (one in high school and a small college) and for the last two years was an assistant at Illinois State.

Now that UTSA has three assistants, the next step on the road to 2011 is recruiting. Coker has already begun to ride the recruiting trail.

“Next step is recruiting or spring recruiting; we have until May 31 to evaluate talent. We have been to as many high schools as we can but the main thing is to do public relations,” Coker said. “We let them know we are here and gauge the reaction around the country. We started with San Antonio area high schools and in the last week the four of us have been to 100 high schools so it has been a productive week.”

The trips of Coker and his staff have a very important purpose; not only is it to get the school’s name out there, it also is a way for Coker and his staff to contact the next two recruiting classes.

“We look at the kids who will be juniors and seniors next year. We are looking at redshirting the class next year,” Coker said. “I think we have a tremendous selling point, this is a great university in a terrific city. We can also sell the unique opportunity to start something great.”

While he is on the recruiting trail, Coker knows he has the Alamodome to offer prospects.

“I would love to have a stadium on campus. I don’t disagree with it but the Alamodome is a great facility and a great facility to recruit to,” Coker said. “We have a lot of needs but stadium is the last one on the list because of the Alamodome.”

Once the spring recruiting period ends on May 31, Coker will not take summer off as UTSA will hold a youth camp.

“We will have a youth camp for ninth grade and under to get as many young men on campus,” Coker said. “They won’t all be prospects but again it is not all about football because you get a couple of ninth and under on campus knowing we have football it can get a lot of young men excited about coming to UTSA and getting a degree even if they never play football here.”

The youth camp won’t be the only camp hosted by UTSA, a half day camp will be held for high school juniors and seniors.

“We will have an advanced camp that will give an opportunity for them to get to know us and us to get to know them and their coaches,” Coker said. “It’s a chance to be around the coaches.”

When asked where he wants to see the program in one year as well as two, Coker said he hopes to have a practice facility but that the added recruiting will be a bonus.

“First off we have to secure our practice facility in order to conduct practice, I would like to evalutate the level of players we were able to get,” Coker said. “I think it will be surprising; we will recruit some really good players when we are able to go through a spring practice and see how talented we are.”

Coker added that in addition to recruiting, the team would be built with students who are already on campus or walk-ons.

“It will be great to get walk-on players from on campus who are eligible,” Coker said. “It would give us a chance to have a mini combine on campus to test their skills.”

Coker smiled when asked about holding open tryouts at UTSA.

“I would like to do that.”

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