For the second straight year, Stephenville will have a new head boys soccer coach. This time, however, it will be a familiar face taking the reins.
Yancey Cashell, who has been an assistant at Stephenville since 2005, is taking over for head coach Stacey Smith, who athletic director Joe Gillespie says is leaving to pursue other opportunities in South Texas.
"Yancey has been involved with our soccer program since he's been here and will do an excellent job," said Gillespie. "He and I actually discussed him taking this position last year, but we felt like we made the correct decision with the direction we went in at that time, and we certainly feel like we're moving in the right direction now."
Stephenville has made the state playoffs every year Cashell has been associated with the soccer program. He also coaches running backs for the football program.
"This is definitely an exciting opportunity, one I've considered for a long time," Cashell said. "I'm excited because I believe we are in a good position to build on the success we've had here and reach another level. The next step is to finally get to the regional tournament, then we'll focus on the level after that."
Cashell was head coach at Alvarado for one season early in his career.
"It was their first season to play a full schedule with a district, and we were in a district with Cedar Hill, which had won state the year before," said Cashell. "It was a tough year but a good experience. I wasn't really ready for the challenge at that point in my career."
Cashell, who has also been an assistant baseball coach during his time at Stephenville, was offered the boys soccer position when he was hired by former athletic director Chad Morris in 2005. He turned it down then and again last year, now says he's prepared to bring stability to the program.
"I feel like Coach Gillespie's always been confident in my coaching ability or he wouldn't have offered me the job before," Cashell said. "We're in a position now where I've been here a while and can give the program some stability. It's never good for a program to have a lot of changes every couple years."
Gillespie says Cashell is a proven leader.
"This is a positive move for us," Gillespie said. "Coach Cashell is a workhorse, and he's someone who has proven he will do things the right way. He's a good coach and an even better person who will provide great leadership for the kids as players and as developing young men."
An assistant boys soccer coach - Stephenville alumnus Jessie Fanning - has also been hired, Gillespie confirmed. Fanning will also replace Smith as a junior high football coach.
In his lone season at the head of the program, Smith guided the Jackets to an area championship after they finished second in District 7-4A.
Gillespie praised Smith for a successful season.
"We appreciate Coach Smith for everything he did this last year. We really believe he helped lift our soccer program up a level," Gillespie said. "We're excited to have Coach Cashell taking over and to continue in the direction we're headed."
Cashell's wife, Debbie, teaches at SHS. They have three children, one of which graduates from SHS Saturday. Cash is a senior, Maddi is a freshman and Cody is a seventh grader at Henderson Junior High.
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