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Liberty Hill City Council
Mayor: Michele "Mike" Murphy, term expires 2012
Place 1: Glen Gavin, term expires 2011
Place 2: Jack Harkrider, term expires 2012
Place 3: Liz Rundzieher, term expires 2011
Place 4: Charles Canady, Mayor Pro Tem, term expires 2012
Place 5: Wendell McLeod, term expires 2011
Place I: Joe "Scooter" Lenox, Vice-President, term expires 2011
Place II: Clay Cole, term expires 2011
Place III: David Nix, term expires 2012
Place IV: Leslye Pogue, Secretary, term expires 2012
Place V: Alfie Perrin, term expires 2012
Place VI: Shawn Roberts, term expires 2013
Place VII: Tony Stephens, President, term expires 2013
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Barry Boren breathes basketball
(Posted: Jan. 21, 2011)
The Independent Sports
“I want you to give everything you have right now!” says Head Panther Basketball Coach Barry Boren as his arms wave toward some destination far into the future. He’s a man in constant motion even sitting down on the side of the basketball court.
It’s the first quarter and the Panthers are pushing back on defense. Boren suddenly morphs from head coach and basketball strategist to head cheerleader clapping his hands, urging the players on. Seconds later he is an evangelist preaching the life-changing miraculous power of unity and hard work.
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” he says smiling from ear to ear. Sweating players nod in agreement and keep their eyes on the court and the ball. In practice, he quotes Vince Lombardi, “the harder you work, the harder it is for you to surrender.”
Admittedly a Type A personality, Coach Boren says he is “a driven person, a high-strung, high-energy person. That’s my best attribute and my worst attribute,” he says with a laugh.
“I want to win, nobody pushes harder or wants to win more than I do,” he said. “But, I’m also teaching student athletes. I tell them they will remember all of this someday as they raise their own kids, as they guide employees in business and someday lead our country. There’s a lot more at stake than winning basketball games.”
Last week, his Runnin’ Panthers beat Taylor 79-51 and Boren is poised for his 500th career victory this week. During his nine-year tenure as head coach, Liberty Hill has been in the playoffs seven years in a row and won the district championship for the past five years.
His English students, Liberty Hill basketball fans and even the coffee shop experts agree Barry Boren brings energy and enthusiasm to everything he does. However, Boren shrugs off praise and instead redirects the credit toward his chosen profession.
“No other profession offers as much validation as teaching,” he said. “I care deeply about our kids, and doing my part to try to mold them, lead them. Teachers are the luckiest people in the world -- we get to actually see the future developing right in front of us, it’s exciting.”
Boren says the best part of his job is seeing the progress of kids -- some are born with natural athletic ability while others have to work hard at the game.
“Our highest scorer and rebounder was a third string, back bencher in the ninth grade, and now he’s leading the team,” he says.
The worst part of his job is making a decision that cuts someone’s playing time, or ends their personal goal of playing the game.
“Whatever decision I make, it doesn’t come off the top of my head. It’s a decision based on the facts, my experience and what I believe is best for the team,” he said.
In his 32nd year as a head basketball coach, Boren has been around long enough to enjoy the validation that comes from having his former athletes drive from across Texas and sometimes from other states to come to Liberty Hill to see their old coach and catch a game.
“I’d never have made it in this business if folks hadn’t been willing to give me an opportunity to prove myself, to tutor and mentor me as a young man,” he says making a brief verbal list of famous basketball coaches to whom he gives credit for his successes. Boren has never been an assistant coach, but takes serious his role of trying to bring along other young coaches.
Some of his former assistant basketball coaches are now head coaches at Waco Ridgeway, Fredericksburg, West Lake, and Liberty Hill Lady Panthers Head Coach Matt Kirschner.
Despite his love for the game, basketball wasn’t Boren’s first love. It was Sue Ann. She was a pretty girl that sat near him in Journalism and Yearbook class, who now teaches first grade at Liberty Hill Elementary School. They married as he turned 20 and she was 19. Their journalism teacher and yearbook sponsor sang at their wedding, he adds.
Boren was a student at the University of North Texas in Denton and was failing most all of his classes, was on academic probation and he credits his wife for helping him rediscover his priorities. Marriage seemed to agree with his academic career as he made the Dean’s List every semester until he graduated.
Even as early as elementary school, Boren said he had made up his mind to become a journalist. In the sixth grade, he designed a weekly newspaper that included articles about happenings in the school, “couple of the week” and jokes. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he had a guest editorial printed in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. As a senior at Haltom City High School, Boren wrote a parody of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, called “Buffalo Tales”, after his school’s mascot. It was written as a roast of all the different groups of students in his high school. Teachers enjoyed it so much they had it read at the Senior Prom, he said.
All the while that Boren was flirting with journalism and Sue Ann, he was a high school athlete playing several sports -- basketball being his favorite.
“I was a capable student, but not driven,” he said. “I tell our kids that I understand how they feel. As an athlete you never see the end, you think that you will play forever. But, nobody plays forever.”
Coach Boren says teaching English is just another way that he is different. He says that people always try to stereotype coaches and nail them into categories and that he has intentionally defied and rejected those stereotypes.
“Kids come to see their coach in a whole new light once they finish my English class,” he said. “I love to teach, I hate to grade.”
Although he has been eligible for retirement for some time, Boren admits he still has the fire in his belly, loves the interaction with the kids and loves teaching and coaching basketball.
“I still love doing this. I still love the game,” he said.
How did it all happen? How does a high school head basketball coach with 23 years experience from all corners of Texas decide to come to Liberty Hill?
“We were living in a large urban area, I was coaching in a 5A high school and we didn’t like the city life,” he recalls. “Moving to Liberty Hill was a family decision. My daughter, Shae, now teaches second grade here and we have our first grandchild. Also I wanted to have the opportunity to coach my son, Blake. I didn’t want to have to spend all that time building my career and not be able to impart some of what I had learned onto him. I wouldn’t take anything for the time he and I got to spend together. I was able to see him every day. I was his high school basketball coach. He graduated fifth in his class. Liberty Hill was a good move for us.”
Blake Boren graduated from the University of Texas and like his parents, and sister, will be a certified teacher.