This week’s 25th Anniversary Flashback takes us back to 2000. Denton Ryan was coming off a 1-9 season and had only won 6 games in the previous 3 years. The head coaching job had been turned down by Ryan’s first 5 choices when they offered it to 32 year old, Joey Florence. Being the school’s 6th choice was a blow to Florence’s ego but he took the advice from his dad and accepted the job
Joey Florence "And I thank my dad for that because I wasn’t about to take that job unless he yanked a knot in my head. “
After taking the job, Florence had to construct a coaching staff and convince his players to dedicate themselves to the program.
Joey Florence “I came from a little 2A school in Cooper Texas where we had 75 kids in the off season to a 5A school in Denton where they had 27 kids in the offseason and I had no idea what was fixin to happen to us down the road”
What happened in that first season was a complete turnaround in the culture at Ryan high school. The Raiders went all the way to the 4a division one state final game that first year. And they only got better after that as they won 4-a state titles in 2001 and 2002, under Florence, Ryan went from a dormat to a perennial power.
Joey Florence “I feel fortunate to be a part of it and all the credit goes to the kids. They had to buy in and play with broken bones and when they were sick and they believed and they didn’t quit.