Since his playing days at Lexington High School, new Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough still recalls having one of his best games against the Pirates only to end up on the losing end.
While throwing for over 290 yards against Boonville, Hough said the Minutemen also led at one point by a score of 21-0.
On Wednesday, Hough met with the future of the Boonville Pirates football program after being named the new head coach.
Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles said Hough has a true passion for coaching kids. “We are looking forward to the excitement and energy that he will bring to our football program,” Shikles said.
With 12 years of heading coaching experience, 10 at Carrollton and two previously at Marceline, Hough also brings a ton of experience to the gridiron.
Of course Hough said it was tough leaving a Marceline program that was 23-2 the last two years with back to back LCC titles. Prior to that, Hough coached at Carrollton High School from 2006-2016, where the Trojans captured two MRVC East titles, three district titles, two Class 2 regional championships and one Class 2 state quarterfinal appearance.
In a sit down interview with Coach Hough on Wednesday, here is what he had to say about the head coaching job at Boonville:
Q: This is your second stint interviewing at Boonville?
A: Yes, this is the second time. The first time I just felt like it wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t the right time professionally because I had been doing my off-season stuff. I felt like we were less than a month away from getting started at Carrollton and then personally I wasn’t comfortable with the situation at the time with where we were with our family and stuff like that.
Q: So why now?
A: Things are a lot better. I spent 10 years at Carrollton and I poured it all into it there. I also grew as a coach. They gave me a great opportunity to grow and then after 10 years, it was time for a change. That wasn’t something that I necessarily controlled but I was able to get the head football job at Marceline and Marceline is a great football community. I had very good athletes and very good people to work with. I have been fortunate to have some great success there but my wife and I are ready to start our life in Boonville and put our roots into place just like we did at Carrollton. I was very loyal to Carrollton because that’s where my roots were. I started there young, I established my family there, I established my friendships. Everything that goes into life we were established there so we are ready to start that over again. At Marceline like I said they gave me a great opportunity but I have always lived in Fayette. The last two years we have lived in Fayette.
Q: So did that have a lot to do with your decision?
A: That’s a big part of it but also the Boonville job is obviously a job growing up in the MRVC. I played against the Brandon Perrys, Michael Malones, Vince Zoeller and the Brimer boys. I played when Boonville was real good coming off state titles and high rankings in the state, and then going to Central Methodist this was the nearest what I consider at the time good football to go watch so I would slide over and watch some of these games and then my sister in law, Angie Rogers, also works at Boonville. It’s always been a school that I have kept my eye on. It’s always been one of those coaching jobs that with the right situation I have wanted to be here and like I said the first time things just weren’t quite right. No disrespect to anything here I don’t want people to think this place wasn’t good enough for him, the timing just wasn’t right. This time here I am. I also love this level of football. This is the biggest class that I want to be in. I felt like when you get to the bigger levels in Class 6 I didn’t feel like football was the prime. I didn’t feel like it was the only thing going on Friday nights. I enjoyed that aspect at Carrollton when we were in our hey day we were the only thing that took place on Friday nights. If it was at home everybody was there. If we were on the road people were traveling with us. At Marceline, football is huge in that community on Friday nights. People are there. I enjoy that. I love to have the platform where we can make a impact in the community and in the school with our football team.
Q: How hard was it leaving Marceline after the seasons you had the last two years?
A: Marceline has talent coming. There is going to have some adjustments but I think the evaluation piece in starting a program isn’t something that just happens overnight. Honestly, I felt like it took me a year at Marceline and I would expect the same at Boonville.
Q: Have you met the Boonville kids yet?
A: This morning. I had about 5-10 minutes with them and it looked like there was a little over 50 kids and that is not counting the middle school kids. I will meet the younger kids this afternoon and I have heard there is some good talent.
Q: Tell us what you want to do in the weight room?
A: It seems like Coach Chris Ferri’s knowledge is off the charts. Just what little conversation I have had with him today he is way over my head. All I am saying we are going to get the boys here early, we are going to make them be dedicated and we are going to set a time. If we are going to be at 6 a.m. I am going to take roll at 5:55 a.m. and if they are not here I am going to send them home. If they show up late we are going to set the discipline. In the past I have always been successful at having guys on my staff that work hard for me and kids work hard for me because I am not set in my ways. Our weight room stuff, we are going to work at three day split in the summer if everything works out I am going to have one session for football kids and then work all of the athletes in but that’s still going to be a work in progress. That’s going to come out the next month or so because I want to work with the basketball coach, wrestling coach and baseball coach because I don’t want the kids to have to choose. We are going to have some athlete input too. That’s going to be a lot of the stuff that I do. You talk about goals and stuff. I have goals that I want but I want to know what the kids want to do because at the end of the day if I put something on the board that Coach Houghs, it’s a goal they don’t have any ownership in. I want those kids to sit down and say coach this is what we want to do and maybe not goals but I want them to have a mind set that we are going to control the controllables. If we can control it we are going to be great at it and then attitude and effort is my other big thing. I should never have to coach or try to teach attitude and effort. You don’t have to be a very good football player to have great attitude and great effort so those will be things that I will preach but like I said weight room we are going to try and stay busy this summer. I would also like to get out and play some 7 on 7 and we’ll camp in July more than likely because I want to be able to evaluate the athlete that I had through June and June is a time that I want them to be doing their baseball and their basketball stuff, but when it gets to July that’s when we need to start focusing in and let’s get ready for football. But all of that stuff is a work in progress.
Q: What do you want to do offensively?
A: Offensively I have been a guy that I am very multiple in what we do such as multiple formations, motions, shifts, etc. Depending on what talent we have, the quarterback is a big part of what we’ll do. From what little tape I have seen it looks like a spread offense is the direction to head just from some of the athletes that I saw morning. I am going to meet with the quarterbacks today trying to figure out where we go, but that’s the good piece, as an athlete they have a new start. I don’t know if a kid didn’t play last year. Everybody has a new fresh start and I talk about the evaluation piece, it’s going to take some time but like I said I am a guy that will work hard, I am a guy that will study film and I hope to put our guys in the right situation.
Q: What about the defense?
A: I want 14-18-year-old kids to be able to decipher what the heck I am doing. I want them to understand it and get it with the movements and with the multiple formations. You are making that 14-18-year-old kid figure some things out on his own so that’s the goal. Defensively, again it’s just like the offense. I can’t tell you what we are going to be in because I don’t know what kind of kids we have but I can tell you we are going to be gap sound. We are going to eliminate the big play, make a team drive the football on us, we are going to try to create turnovers and we are going to tackle. We are going to have that 11-1 mind set. That’s probably the philosophy I can tell you, we are going to have a 11-1. We are going to get 11 guys to one thing and that’s the football. We are going to tackle every day, we are going to do turnover circuit every day and we are going to be fundamental and at the end of the day it’s truly going to be kind of the KISS system: keep it simple stupid because I want the kids to run and I want the kids to be fast. I don’t want paralysis by analysis is what I say. I don’t want it to be so hard that they are out there thinking. I want them to get to the football and I want them to get there fast.
Q: What is your philosophy on football?
A: My overall philosophy on football has probably changed a lot. When I started out young I played for Gil Rector (former coach at Lexington). Gil Rector was a Hall of Fame Coach at Lexington. I only knew his way. I knew we were going to periods so I guess my practice philosophy is different now. We are going to be up-tempo at practices, we are going to run 15 minute sessions, and we are going to hit offense and defense both days. Offensively I want to run with good tempo and I want to be effective with the run and pass game. Defensively, I want to be sound. But my football philosophy is just be great at what I can control and that’s not even a football philosophy. That’s life. If I can control something I am going to put everything I have into it and I am going to work hard.
Q: What do you want to accomplish in your first-two years?
A: Obviously there is a lot of transition that hasn’t nothing to do with me with the conference change, so I think that is going to be new for our community, which what better time to make a conference change when you have a new coach coming in to. I think that’s going to be new for our community, it’s going to be new for our football team and I think there is a lot of positives that I can see in that. My first year I want to get the kids out. I want to hit the hallways, I want to create an excitement and a buzz right here at BHS. I think if that happens you leave the hallways and then you touch the streets and those kids talk and you get people excited, you get parents excited and then you play good football. You play good football that effects the community, that effects the school and I want to play good football  and I want people to be excited and have that pride so that’s year one. I want to get kids out, I want kids to understand that we are going to work hard and understand that Coach Hough is going to coach hard but also I am going to love them and I am going to take care of them. They are going to realize that I respect them but I am going to ask a lot out of them and to feel comfortable out of their comfort zone. I want them to want to get out of their comfort zone because that’s the only time you are going to get better. I wish I could tell you I was going to come in here and win a conference title, win a district title and a state championships; that’s probably what some people want to hear. I am not going to tell you that. Every week our kids are going to be prepared, every week our kids are going to be in shape physically and mentally and focused and at the end of the night we will see what the scoreboard reads. I think if we protect the football, we are fundamental and we do our job we have a good chance that the scoreboard be in our favor. But it’s going to take time.
Q: What are your long term goals?
A: This job right here checks all the boxes: the football, the school, the community and family. I feel like there are positive check marks in those boxes. If all works out at Boonville, this will be my last stop. I told you my goal is not to climb the ladder, my goal is to make wherever I am the best it can be and I know there is going to be good times and there is going to be bad times, there is going to be ups and downs and everything but through all of that just like I am going to preach to the kids my attitude and effort is never going to be doubted and my sense of pride and what I do is going to be to the best of my ability.
Q: Are you excited about going to the Tri-County Conference?
A: This has been really quick so I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and really get this mind set around it but you hear the Trent Tracy at Southern Boone, Walker left Blair Oaks but you hear about the Blair Oaks talent through the conference play. Eldon has gotten better, Hallsville has beautiful facilities and the weight room. I really don’t know a whole lot about anybody but I know it’s going to be tough. I am not scared of that. I have the respect all fear none mentality and to be real honest that mentality probably cost me a job but to me it is what it is. I want the kids to have that mentality as well no matter who they put in front of us we can’t control that but we can control our attitude and effort, our preparation and that’s what we need to do.
Q: Have you evaluated the coaches yet, and are you bringing anybody in from another program?
A: These guys right off the bat all of them contacted me and that’s exciting because I know some of them had interest in the head job and I know some of them have been head coaches before  and everybody has been really positive to me. Some of these guys I have known for just being in the coaching fraternity and things like that but I hope their pride is strong. I hope their work ethic is strong because those are things that I am going to establish: work ethic and pride. Pride is what you do, pride is who you are.
Q: Are you going to be the offensive coordinator?
A: I will run the offense.
Q: Have you made up your mind on the defensive coordinator?
A: No. Like I said I am going to evaluate those guys just like I evaluate the kids. I have done this long enough that I can coach any position. I can coach any side of the ball but I am not one of those dictator type guys. I want to work with them for them and I want them to have the same mind set of me. I think if we can built that relationship we are going to be one.
Q: What about special teams?
A: I think there are three phases of football: offense, defense and special teams. That is something we are going to work on every single day. We are going to practice it every day, we are going to be good at it and then on the flip side we are going to try and create some opporunities with our special teams. We are going to be aggressive. We are going to put athletes back there to catch the football and rock and roll with it.