By JUSTIN RAINS
It didn’t take long for Palestine athletic director Lance Angel to find a new man to lead the Wildcat defense.
He also didn’t have to look outside the county.
On Tuesday, Angel announced hiring of Elkhart defensive coordinator Shannon Clakley to the defensive coordinator position vacated by Ty Robinson late last week.
The hire is still pending board approval.
“He’s an energetic guy and, from what I’ve heard, he can really get the kids to play for him,” Angel said. “That’s important on the defensive side of the ball.”
Robinson left to become the athletic director and head football coach at Class 1A Yorktown after three years as Palestine’s defensive coordinator.
2012 was the first in Elkhart for Clakley, a Frankston native. Prior to coaching in Anderson County, he coached at Princeton.
Prior to Princeton, he coached Allen for five years and at McKinney North and McKinney Boyd.
“Being the first year in this area and getting to know what coach Angel and his staff are doing...they’ve got something special going,” Clakley said.
Clakley was almost on staff at Palestine before last season, but decided to accept the defensive coordinator job at Elkhart instead.
Angel also announced the promotion of D.J. Wright to the position of co-Defensive Coordinator.
For Wright, the move comes after four years on the Palestine staff. The 35-year-old coach also is the head boys’ track coach.
“It’s very humbling. It’s something that I feel like as a coach that you work for,” Wright said. “(Coach Angel) kept me when he came on...and now to promote me, it means a lot to me.”
Wright will be in charge of the team’s secondary, while Clakley will handle the front-seven, including TCU-commit Jarrell Owens, among others.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Clakley said. “I’ve seen him in 7-on-7...he’s just a phenomenal athlete. I can’t say enough about it. I’m super excited to get to work with him on the defensive side of the ball.”
Wright praised both Clakley’s knowledge of the game and his personality, saying he thought the new coordinator would fit in well with the Palestine staff.
“I think we’ll work well together. He has a good work ethic and is very knowledgeable about defense. He seems like he’ll fit in well with the kids and the staff.
“One of the things we have here at Palestine, is the whole staff gets along here. We want to keep that family atmosphere here.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org