Sometimes you just can't stay away.
The opportunity to come back and coach on a staff run by one of his former pupils was too good for retired legend Mike Copeland to turn down.
Joseph Gillespie, head football coach and director of athletics at Stephenville, announced on Monday that Copeland, who retired from Stephenville ISD in 2003, would be returning to the school district as cornerbacks coach on the gridiron, assistant track and field coach and history teacher in the classroom.
Copeland retired after 34 years of service to the Stephenville ISD, including the last three as the head football coach and athletics director. He was a defensive coach for all four state championship teams of the 1990s. His 35th year of service to the school district will come after five years off.
Not that the last five years was exactly time off for the coach. He has had a hands-on role with the family business, Barefoot Athletics, and has served as a volunteer coach for the Morgan Mill Junior High football program.
Because Copeland is coming out of retirement, he will not officially begin his duties until the beginning of the 2008-09 school year in August.
"It's not official until August, but Coach Copeland's word is good, and the school board's word is good," Gillespie said.
Gillespie played under Copeland and was an assistant on his defensive staffs from 1995-2003.
"He's like a father to me, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels that way," said Gillespie.
Stephenville's new head coach and AD is right. He's not the only one who feels that way.
"He was my track coach," said Stephenville resident and SHS alumnus, Terri White. "If I had to think of the best role model in my life, he's it. No question."
"We're talking about a legend," said Gillespie. "He's a phenomenal coach who has been such an integral part of the success achieved here in Stephenville. Word has made its way to the kids that he's coming back, and they're all very excited."
Gillespie also announced the return of Curtis Lowery to Stephenville. Lowery, a Stephenville graduate who played for Art Briles on the 1993 and 1994 state championship teams before taking his game to the collegiate level at Texas Tech, will coach the offensive line. He currently holds the same position at perennial Class 3A power Kennedale.
"I'm excited about having Curtis come on board," Gillespie said. "This is a huge hire, also. He's been successful where he's been, and was successful when he was here. He's great with kids, he's a great motivator and a great teacher."
Lowery will join the Stephenville staff in the next 7-10 days, according to Gillespie.
Gillespie said he plans to make another big hire with the naming of an offensive coordinator later this week.