After spending the last three years as an assistant coach at Galena Park North Shore, Derek Fitzhenry is ready to step back into the water as a head coach. Fitzhenry was hired as the new head coach at nearby Sheldon King in the Houston area earlier this week.
“They have great leadership within Sheldon ISD with Superintendent King Davis,” Fitzhenry said, “The school district is really growing and I just think it’s the best fit for me.”
Fitzhenry will take over for Don Price, who is retiring at the end of the school year, according to Sheldon ISD. The Panthers dropped off in 2016 after making the jump from 5A to 6A, finishing with a 1-9 record after consecutive playoff appearances in 2015 in 2014.
“Coach Fitzhenry is the ideal candidate to fill this position,” Sheldon ISD Superintendent King Davis said in a release announcing Fitzhenry’s hire. “He is passionate about his players – both on and off the field – and he wants to see each of them succeed in life.”
Fitzhenry does have a track record of success, with his most recent head coaching job at Longview Pine Tree. He spent three seasons as the Pirates head coach before resigning halfway through the 2013 season. He’s also had stops at Giddings as a head coach and an offensive coordinator position at Odessa Permian.
At North Shore, Fitzhenry says that the relationships formed with his team and winning a state championship in 2015 will be his best memories there. They will still be seeing more of each other, as King and North Shore each play in District 21-6A.
“I’ll be fun to coach against those guys,” Fitzhenry said, “I know they’ve already promised an outcome but I know those are great kids over there that are hungry to win.”
As for his new position, Fitzhenry is still getting to know his new team but he likes what he sees so far and is optimistic in turning around the Panthers fortunes after a trying 2016 season.
“Even though I’ve only been here two days, I know some of the kids when we played against them. There’s some hurdles to overcome with the move to 6A but there’s some really good talent here. I think these kids are really hungry to go to be competitive and have a chance to compete for championships.”
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