Timpson head coach James Conway is entering his first year as head coach of the Bears but he’s knows the program, and the area well.
“I started at Pine Tree in Longview,” the coach said. “I went to New Diana as Head Coach, AD (Athletic Director), I went to Tatum as Head Coach AD, I went to Center as Head Coach AD, I went to Grave City as Head Coach AD, retired and came here and worked with coach Calahan then back to Tatum as an assistant coach, back to Tempson and back to Tatum. So I’ve kind of played ping pong with Tatum and Timpson.”
Conway, who has a record of 131-78-4 as head coach will have his work cut out for him in turning around a program that won just one game a year ago, but he believes he has the main ingredient: stability.
“This community needs somebody stable to stay with them and I felt like I was the person to come in and stabalize what was going on in the athletic program and get it to where it needs to be,” he said. “So I guess they accepted that so that’s what we’re going to do.
“If the program is switching the coaches every year, it’s hard on the kids,” he said. “These kids don’t know what’s going on or how they’re going to be treated. It’s hard for them to buy in. I think they realize the staff I’ve hired will be here a while. We’ve got age on it, we’ve got middle age on it and we’ve got youth so I feel good about it. It’s exciting as the season is right around the corner.”
Conway was the defensive coordinator in 2003 under Ron Callahan when the Timpson went to the semi-finals.
“After that point (2003), our kids have been troops as they have been through head coaches and assistant coaches it seems like every year,” Conway said. “I’ve lived here in Timpson 10 years. I’m going to be here. I want the kids to realize these assistant coaches I’ve hired are going to be here a while too. We’re going to stay, we’re going to coach them and we’re going to get them going in the right direaction so they can all be comfortable.”
Conway’s past jobs have been for long periods of time and he’s not planning on chaning that.
“They know where I’ve been and they know I haven’t just been in and out,” he said. “I was at Tatum for four years when I came back, I was at center for nine years and I’ve lived in Tatum now for 10.”
Staying put will allow Conway to coach the Bears for long term and build long term relationships.
“When you start having people you coached coach with you it shows you’ve been in the business for a while,” he said. “They know who I am and I know who they are. That’s what athletics does for you. It builds those long lasting relationships. You go through so much together, the hard times, the good times. The longer you stay in a system, the better the kids will know you. Athletics is all about equiping these young men for when they out into society, they will be succesful.”
Former head coach Winlon Knowles of Pine Tree was the first head coach Conway worked under and he said something that has stuck with Conway all these years.
“The biggest statement I remember from him that I share with my coaches is, “if you’re asked to do something, do it, because if you don’t, your successor will.’ That’s the one statement I try to make clear to my coaches. When we come here, we’ve all got to be on the same page.”