AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “Be able to develop your own ideas and be able to walk your own path.”
Helping young men develop their character and academics. That’s the mentality of new Palo Duro Head Football Coach Eric Mims. Being a good football player is only part of the equation. The goal is to have these young men excel not only in the game of football, but also the game of life.
“The same blueprint to go in to work hard, develop young men, develop their character, develop them academically,” he said. “When you develop the whole man, athletically, the kids are going to develop because of the high standards that we set for them, for the expectations that we have for them, for our ability to teach and coach them. They’re going to grow as players because of the standards that we’re gonna have and the expectations that we place on them.”
High expectations are nothing new to Mims and his programs. He returns to Palo Duro’s top job after coaching stops in Dallas Skyline and Duncanville. Mims was the Offensive Coordinator of a Duncanville squad who advanced to state in 2018 and 2019, and made it to the semi-finals this past season. Instilling a physical and smart brand of football, Mims said, is the key to achieving the Palo Duro standard.
“We want to be good in all three phases of the game. We don’t expect to score 70 points a game and give up 69. You know, we want to be electric on offense, we want to be able to move the ball from sideline to sideline, run the ball, throw the ball,” he said. “We want to be well balanced on the defensive side of the ball. We want to be fast, want to be physical, we want to punish people. We want to make sure that when you play PD, you know you’ve been hit.”
Mims comes to the PD Head Coach job following in the footsteps of Johnny Allen, who was the first African-American football coach in AISD history. Though Mims is blazing a path being in such select company, it didn’t come without it’s fair share of disappointment.
Mims interviewed for the PD job a few years ago, but wasn’t selected. As disappointing as it was, he says it all worked out in the end.
“It’s really just a blessing and I think I ended up falling right in the will of God to be where I am. But, you know, heartbreaks and pain and disappointment and frustration. A lot of times when you listen to people who become great in the field, they talk about those failures that eventually came before their success story.”