Reporter: Ellie Mahan
In addition to gaining a new athletic director and head football coach, the Whitney Wildcat Athletic Department has taken on eight new coaches this school year. To help welcome these coaches to the Whitney Wildcat family, The Lakelander Newspaper is featuring the new coaches in issues of the paper.
Introducing Coach Cleere
September 21, 2022
This week’s featured coach is Austin Cleere, who has a wife of four years, Kelsey Cleere, and a 10-month-old son named Harper.
Coach Austin Cleere is the high school football offensive coordinator, high school track and middle school basketball coach and high school special education teacher. Cleere is in his first year of working for Whitney ISD; for the last eight years, he has been coaching at West High School.
His favorite part about coaching is seeing students build confidence in themselves and learn that the small victories will help them overcome life’s obstacles.
He is looking forward to competing for a district title and making a playoff run this season.
Coach Cleere graduated from Robinson High School in 2008 and went on to obtain a degree in sociology from McMurry University in 2012.
In the two months he has lived here, Cleere has noticed Whitney’s community involvement. He said, “I believe having support creates a positive culture and provides structure for successful programs.”
Introducing Coach Franklin
September 8, 2022
The featured coach for this week is Erin Franklin, who teaches P.E. and girls’ athletics at Whitney Middle School and coaches middle school volleyball, basketball and track. Franklin, who is in her first year working for Whitney ISD, has been teaching for 10 years and coaching volleyball for almost 25 years in both Texas and Tennessee.
Franklin moved from Tennessee to Whitney with her family in June. She and her husband, Aaron, minister of music and families at White Bluff Chapel, have two sons, Anderson and EJ. Anderson is a sophomore at Whitney High School, and EJ is an eighth grader at Whitney Middle School.
Coach Franklin is glad to be back in Texas. She said, “We love living in this beautiful lake community where everyone is so friendly and welcoming. God brought us here to serve the community, and we are so thankful to be here.”
She loved playing sports growing up and even went into college as a volleyball player at Texas Christian University. She is happy that she still gets to be a part of the game now as a coach.
She obtained her high school diploma from Martin High School in Arlington, her Bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in marketing and management from TCU and her Master’s degree in Christian education with a focus in church recreation from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth.
Her favorite part about coaching is investing in athlete’s lives and teaching them what it takes to be successful in life long after graduation. She said, “I have always believed that God gave me these athletic gifts for a purpose, to be used for His glory beyond the court.”
She is excited for what this school year has in store, and she can’t wait to build relationships with coaches, athletes and their families. “We have a wonderful group of athletes and coaches that I am looking forward to working with this year,” She said. “It’s going to be a great year – Go Wildcats!”
Introducing Coach Townson
August 18, 2022
The featured coach for this week is Joshua Townson, who has a wonderful wife, Heather Townson, and five children, Coen, Jordyn, Camden, Brantley and Colton.
Coach Joshua Townson will be Whitney’s head powerlifting coach, junior high track and junior high football coach, and he will also teach environmental science at the high school level. This is Townson’s first year coaching at WISD, but he is no stranger to Whitney, as he was part of the Wildcat graduating class of 2004.
Coach Townson grew up in Whitney and moved away when he joined the Navy. He moved back to Whitney about three years ago, and he loves the community, where people are kind and always willing to lend a helping hand.
He has many years of coaching youth sports under his belt, and he was a football student assistant coach at Tarleton State University, where he obtained his B.S. in kinesiology. Townson said, “I wanted to be a coach so that I could teach athletes how to be champions, not only in the sport but in life. I want to help these young athletes prepare for their future so that they may be successful in whatever they chose.”
His favorite aspect of coaching is watching the development of players. Seeing players go from struggling to succeeding and watching their faces light up brings him joy.
Coach Townson described the students he has been working with as respectful individuals who are invested in making themselves and Whitney athletics better.
He said, “Their work ethic is amazing, and they do everything I ask of them.”
The coach sees sports as a great tool for him to teach leadership, resilience and teamwork.