Pointing in a new direction


The Mustang Gym bleachers were packed Monday night, but not for a sporting event. Parents, athletes, school board members and interested residents gathered to hear from new Athletic Director Rusty Nail and his coaching staff the plans they have in store for the coming season.

Nail, who led the Mart Panthers to two football state championships, emphasized the importance of “creating a championship culture” in Madisonville. He spoke of the importance of attendance, attitude, parent participation and academics.

The new AD, who also will serve as the head football coach, also introduced new hires Brady Conger and Russell Urbantke. Conger will serve as Madisonville’s defensive coordinator, district-wide strength coach and first assistant athletic director. Urbantke will be the football team’s offensive coordinator.

“We’re really excited to have these guys,” Nail said. “They’re high energy. We want to produce overachievers.”

Conger noted that mental and physical toughness “is a big part of what we’re doing.”

“We ask them, don’t show that you’re tired. Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” he said. “We want them to fight through that … The key is tempo and how we create energy in the room. We’re not going to move slow at any point.”

He invited parents to attend workouts.

“We want you to come see this,” Conger said. “We want you to be excited. Let’s have some fun. Thank you for letting me coach your children.”

Nail reviewed his “key championship components” – credible leaders, clear and common vision, core values, standards of behavior, aligned systems and committed and unified team members.

The AD is introducing a program called “Mustang Maker” for fifth and sixth graders as an alternative to P.E. class. The program, available to boys and girls, is an introduction to athletic values, goals and expectations.

“We will teach them technique work and how we do things,” Nail said. “It also puts them under our grade accountability system.”

A similar program was implemented in Mart and attracted more student athletes and “made us successful,” Nail said.

The coach reviewed his attendance policy, advising that consequences will occur when athletes don’t show up to school after a contest, unless they have a doctor’s note or valid excuse. He additionally outlined workout scheduling changes and provided information on the district’s booster club.

He briefly reviewed his core values: high energy, fast tempo, mental and physical toughness, genuine concern for others, finish, honesty, integrity and accountability to others.

Nail repeatedly mentioned that his cell phone number is available to parents and encouraged them to remain in contact. The coach appeared enthusiastic and prepared for a good season in all sports.

“Talent is not an issue here,” he said.