By George Slaughter
Chris Dudley returns to Cinco Ranch as football coach. He was appointed to the position Monday night at the Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting.
Dudley has coached at Cinco Ranch his entire career, except for last season, when he was assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator at Taylor High School
This is Dudley’s first head coaching job.
Dudley has been in the Katy Independent School District since 2003, when he followed his brother’s advice to pursue a coaching career in Texas. Dudley is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, and played college football at Duquense University in Pittsburgh.
“I credit him for getting me down here,” Dudley said of his brother.
When Dudley came to Texas, he had nothing lined up. He made the rounds at various school districts before becoming a volunteer football coach on Don Clayton’s staff at Cinco Ranch.
“He (Clayton) was willing to add a third volunteer, which was pretty rare,” Dudley said. “I came in late that summer.”
Dudley held various jobs on the Cougar football staff until February 2018, when then-Cinco Ranch defensive coordinator Chad Simmons became the head coach at Taylor High School. Dudley joined Simmons, serving as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
Clayton, the only head football coach in Cinco Ranch history, last month announced his intention to retire after 20 years at the school.
Dudley said Clayton did a phenomenal job in building an elite program at Cinco Ranch.
“It’s something I’ve got to embrace,” Dudley said.
At the same time, Dudley said he knew he needed to put his own stamp on things. He feels confident he can do this, in part through his familiarity with both the school and the people there.
“I’m very fortunate that coach Clayton, over the years, and coach Simmons, as well, really trusted me in a lot of different roles, and they were preparing me, whether they knew it or not, for this day,” Dudley said.
Dudley said the key to the program was to build people. He said Cinco Ranch student-athletes are known for being hard workers, coachable, giving great effort and being disciplined.
“If you have those traits, no matter what sport you’re in, you’re going to be successful,” Dudley said. “Build kids, and you’ll have a great program.”
Defensively, the Cougars under Dudley will run the 4-2-5 scheme as they’ve done since 2011.
“It’s worked really for us and we feel really good about it,” Dudley said. On offense, Dudley said he would meet with the current coaches and decide how best to proceed.
“This is not a rebuild, by any means,” Dudley said. “The culture of the campus is great. The athletics program is phenomenal.”