Sport to take over as head football coach after Blankenship’s departure

New head coach Jason Sport next to his wife and daughter. Photo Courtesy of Jason Sport Twitter.

New head coach Jason Sport next to his wife and daughter. Photo Courtesy of Jason Sport Twitter.

Grace Ontiveros, Sports Editor

  After a 4-6 campaign last season, head coach Lee Blankenship has made the decision to leave the high school’s football program. Blankenship left many players and fans shocked with his sudden departure for Mustang. Defensive coordinator Jason Sport has been named as new head coach by athletic director Spence Rigdon.

  “We had a committee that poured through the applicants to the interview process,”Rigdon said. “And felt that this was the best person, and it didn’t have to do with outside or inside [the school]. It’s a combination of lots of factors, that we felt coach Sport would be the best one at the time.”

  Coach Sport was deemed best fit after some of his qualities matched up with what Rigdon was looking for.

  “Knowledgeable, [someone] who has the knowledge of the sport is important,” Rigdon said. “[Then] I think you want to have integrity, you wanna have people that love kids, and want to serve kids. Number one is knowledge, he is very knowledgeable. He comes from great programs, his background, his history, of what he brought to the table was important. A second piece to that would be his familiarity with what we did last year.”

  Rigdon also believes Sport was best fit because of his background from working on all sides of the ball.

  “He has some background on the offensive side as well,” Rigdon said. “That was a big plus for him. He’s been a coordinator in every phase of the game. He has been a special teams coordinator at Jenks, he was an offensive coordinator in Arkansas, and a defensive coordinator here, so his experience in every aspect of coaching is gonna benefit him as a head coach.”

  Another bonus Jason Sport can add to his resume, is his experience with the program. Sport has been coaching for the Bruins for a total of seven years, so he is well aware of the expectations that Rigdon, the school, and the community alike will hold him accountable to.

  “We’ve talked about [the expectations]. We want to make [them clear], and this is in any program, but Sport’s on the forefront of [this one],” Rigdon said. “As well as volleyball and softball, but we want to create a strong foundation for all of the programs, and so that means our lower levels. For the first year of any sport, we want it to be the best possible, cause we want the best kids, their first experience in any sport to have a great experience, so that they want to continue in getting better at that sport.”

  Although Sport will bring his own talents to the table, Rigdon hopes to continue to grow the program off of last years results.

  “[I hope he will] continue building on the program in the direction we saw last year,” Sport said. “You know to grow kids, to grow coaches, to be competitive on the field, but more importantly to probably produce quality kids beyond the field.”

  And that means following in the footsteps of former head coach Lee Blankenship, whom has a lot of controversial comments about his departure swirling amid the end of the season. However, for the athletic director there is nothing but praise for Blankenship.

  “He left our program better than it was before he came in,” Rigdon said. “He raised the bar, and we are grateful for what he did.”

  New head football coach Jason Sport also is with Rigdon, and is against the heavy criticism that Blankenship is receiving. He is also aware many of the players feel betrayed and

lied to by the departure of Blankenship.

  “I am so excited about the opportunity that Coach Blankenship has at Mustang,” Sport said. “There is a large community of people that will get to experience the gifts that my friend Coach Blankenship has. Though it was only one year that we spent together coaching, I am so thankful for the time we had. I would say that I have built trust with our team. I have always been very transparent which leads to trust. We cannot afford to feel sorry for ourselves. There is no time for us to allow a root of bitterness to grow.”

  Although Sport is sad for his friends departure, he is looking forward to his new job.

  “I will continue to teach,” Sport said. “Maybe not in the traditional classroom setting, but I am teaching. We are placing a big emphasis on being intentional with each and everything we do.”

  Coach Sport is also aiming to place a big emphasis on the younger players.

  “The biggest changes will come in how we structure our first grade through ninth grade teams,” Sport said. “This is and will be a top priority in building our program. We want to build that covenant community within our youth football program. We are looking forward to partnering with parents to help grow all of our kids.”

  Though this will be his first season as head coach, Sport does not feel any additional pressure, even though he is now working on all sides of the ball.

  “No more pressure than normal,” Sport said. “I try to live each moment up to a certain standard. I put the pressure on myself to live in that way. I am not defined by what I do, but in who I am. I will not be taking over the offensive side. I will work each day to put our coaches and kids in the best possible situation to succeed. I will serve our coaches and players. We have incredibly gifted coaches that I trust to help our team progress.”

  Overall, Sport is really aiming to facilitate growth in his players and coaches on and off the field.

  The biggest challenge is fighting complacency,” Sport said. “We cannot afford to get complacent and comfortable with where we are. We do not want to waste any opportunities to get better I want to help facilitate personal growth within our coaches and players. Making great disciplined driven decisions will lead to personal growth that will help build great leaders. Those leaders will drive our team to good behavior which will continue to establish the culture we are striving for. The system will get the results we desire for our players on and off the field.”