The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


June 6, 2014

Back at Pioneer, Overstreet plans Mustangs' football rebuild

WAUKOMIS, Okla. — Gus Overstreet is home. Next, is making Pioneer football feel more like it.

The last time the Mustangs’ new football coach was a part of the program, it was nearing the end of its golden age: five state championships in six seasons of eight-man football from 1996-2001 and 17 playoff trips from 1988-2007, four times with Overstreet along for the ride. Four seasons as a starting defensive end and linebacker at Panhandle State University and two more as an assistant coach at Covington-Douglas later, Overstreet’s next endeavor is pulling the Mustangs out of their recent fog as they return to Class B eight-man football.

There will be some time between now and then, he said. Only a handful of Pioneer players entered 2014 with previous exposure to eight-man football, and the 25-year-old taking over to lead them — who’s similarly green in the head-coaching game — is taking over a team that hasn’t won five games since the year after he left, the same season Pioneer was elevated into Class A 11-man football.

But altogether, it could be the clean slate the Mustangs need: a fresh voice from a fresh face and a return to a level and style of football Pioneer played at its peak years

“I’m just really glad I got offered this opportunity to come back and try to rebuild this program,” Overstreet said.

And he didn’t wait long to get that going.

The same day Overstreet was officially hired on as Pioneer’s football coach and middle school science teacher, taking over for Aline-Cleo-bound Kurt Myers, he opened an abridged spring session with the Mustangs, installing an offense and defense in three days, just in time for a team camp at Garber less than a week later. On Monday, the team starts a revamped summer strength and conditioning program Overstreet hopes will be the cornerstone of Pioneer’s rebuild.

To two of the coaches from Overstreet’s football past, the quick start isn’t a surprise.

“Sometimes when you coach teenagers, you have no idea how they’ll turn out,” said Waukomis head football coach John Claborn, Overstreet’s high school head coach at Pioneer and his opponent in week nine of the 2014 season. “But by his junior year, I knew he was a young man that loved football … I knew he had a passion for it. He was a high-energy player, and I’m sure he’ll take that enthusiasm to coaching.”

“He’s very organized,” added Covington-Douglas head football coach Brian Smith, who had Overstreet as an assistant for the past two years. “He knows the game, he played the game at a high level. He’ll do a great job.”

Overstreet said he had leaned on both previous high school head coaches that took part in his football development, as well as fellow Covington-Douglas assistant Mike Kaiser, for tips on dealing with the extra duties on a head-coach’s to-do list, among them interacting with parents and cementing schedules. None of the three, or any other area coaches he’s been exposed to, many of them who knew Overstreet from his playing days, thought the first-year coach’s youth was a detriment.

“I can’t say that I know everything,” Overstreet said. “I’m just a young pup trying to get this done, but I think I’m up to the challenge. I know I’ll probably stumble and fall a little bit, but I’ll always get back up.”

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