Darby House laid out his vision Wednesday at Rotary Club for Nacogdoches ISD athletics.

House is two games into his first season as head football coach and athletic director at Nacogdoches High School. The Dragons are off to a 1-1 start with Lumberton visiting Nacogdoches at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Raiders began the season ranked No. 10 in Class 4A Division I but lost their first two games.

His vision for football – and for all sports at NISD – is to play hard and play with class.

“We want to win a district title and be overall great people… in every sport,” House said. “And we want to grow them up to be dependable young men and women.”

In football, House and his staff have aligned the program from seventh-grade through high school. Players at McMichael Middle School need to be running the same plays and doing the same drills, he said.

House came to Nacogdoches from Poteet, where the Aggies turned around from an 0-10 campaign in 2018 to a 10-2 bi-district championship in 2021. That season marked the school’s first playoff victory since 1958.

When describing this year’s football team, House said the Dragons have a lot of playmakers on offense. “I want to get the ball to our players in space so they can do something with it.”

The Dragons opened the season Aug. 25 with a stirring 40-36 victory over Palestine. In the game’s final 90 seconds, Nacogdoches had a goal line stand then drove 99 yards for the winning score.

On Wednesday, House told Rotarians that prioritizing winning games while laying the groundwork for building a long-term, successful program is the focus of his coaching staff. House said he wants his coaches to highlight hard work while building relationships with the players. 

“You can coach as hard as you can as long as you love them as hard as you can,” he said, adding that it’s important that being a part of the program is fun. 

And that has allowed the football team to attract players from other sports, House said. “The word spread… we’re working very hard but we’re having fun doing it.”

NISD Communications