MIDWEST CITY — Darrell Hall understands the challenges he faces taking over for a popular incumbent.
About the only thing Steve Huff didn't accomplish during his six seasons as Midwest City's coach was winning a state championship.
Huff went 60-12 with the Bombers, winning his final 37 district games before leaving the job after last season to start a program at College Station (Texas) High School.
“Coach Huff didn't leave because the cupboard was bare,” Hall said. “He left because he got a better job and a better chance for him and his family.”
Hall has the state title rings, though they didn't come in Class 6A.
He coached Star Spencer to the 2009 Class 4A title and then Tulsa Washington to the title in 2010.
Only 16 coaches have taken two schools to football championships in the state. Just two (Woody Roof and Bruce Hendrickson) have coached three schools to state titles.
“I consider myself very lucky,” Hall said. “There have been a lot of great coaches in Oklahoma high school football that never have had the opportunity that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of.”
Like most coaches coming to a new job, Hall is making some changes at Midwest City.
The defense will be a bit different; the offense, while much the same, figures to be a bit more balanced. Hall's personality is also different than Huff's.
“Coach Huff was a real stern guy,” Bombers offensive lineman Carlos Freeman said. “He's a wonderful coach and there's no taking that away from him. But it's definitely different. Coach Hall is one of those coaches that really works with you.
“It really helps the younger guys. He's doing an excellent job and his attitude has been amazing.”
But also like most successful authority figures — whether in sports, business or politics — Hall realized that there didn't need to be change just for the sake of change.
Most of the coaching staff remains in place from a year ago, with six assistants remaining.
“Every place you go, you do it differently,” Hall said. “I came in with the mindset that we're going to keep as much similarity for the young men as possible but put the coach Hall twist on it.
“They'll tell me, ‘This is what we've done in the past.' If I don't like it, I'm going to chunk it but most of it I like. Coach Huff ran a very good program.”
Hall hopes to take that program one step further.
“We know that, even though the east has won them the last 14, 16 years or whatever, the west is going to break through eventually,” Hall said. “We're hoping it's this year.
“Streaks are made to be broken.”
Campaign slogan: Give 'em Hall
Midwest City is using the motto “Bombers Unite” as Darrell Hall enters his first season there after two seasons at Tulsa Washington. Hall replaces Steve Huff, who took a job at College Station (Texas) High after a successful six-year run at Midwest City. Now, Hall enters a program with high expectations, trying to become the first west-side team to win a Class 6A football title since the Bombers did it in 1995. “Give 'em Hell Harry” wasn't an official campaign slogan of Truman's 1948 re-election campaign but was repeatedly yelled to the candidate during the race as he made stops around the country.
Endorsements for Darrell Hall
Willis Alexander, Douglass coach: “I think Midwest City made a great hire. They hired a person who is very passionate about the kids he coaches, and the relationship he has with them. Every kid that he has dealt with has a number of positive things to say about him. Competing against him was always fun, because you know his teams are gonna play very hard. I know Midwest City has a great coach and those kids have a great role model, and probably even a better person working with them.”
Carlos Freeman, Midwest City offensive lineman: “Coach Hall is one of those coaches that really work with you. It really helps these younger guys. He's doing an excellent job and his attitude has been amazing. He's real patient, real laid-back and real chill but as soon as you make him made, you know you did and you're not very happy about it.”