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VYPE U: Ridge Point Panthers' New Addition, Rick LaFavers

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Rick LaFavers for the last seven years was the Lamar Consolidated Head Coach/Athletic Coordinator but then an opportunity came up that he just couldn't pass up.

Looking back at Lamar Consolidated, the experience was rough at first his first season the team finished 2-8, the next season they finished 0-10 and then 2-6 before things got better. In the 2018 season they finished 7-4 and the 2019 season, they finished 9-3 after falling short to the Manvel Mavericks in the second round. Recently, LaFavers was hired as the Ridge Point High School Head Football Coach after Coach Brett Sniffin was named Belton High School's new head football coach.

Coach Lafavers, is full of experience. With 10 years of coaching defense, five years on offense, three years with special teams, and three years as head strength coach. Versatile isn't even the word. LaFavers has coached at the SEC, Big 12, C-USA, Mountain West Conference, and FCS level. He has helped produce many great athletes and is planning to do the same as he begins his first season as the Ridge Point head coach for the 2020 season.

I've asked Coach LaFavers a few questions to get to know him and how he expects to impact the Panthers' this season and for years to come.

VYPE: You have over 20 years of coaching experience, at times is it hard to adjust to the different environments you are placed in as you become a new coach ? And if so, how do you manage to do it?

RICK LAFAVERS: Yes I have 23 years of coaching experience. It is always challenging when entering new environments. Each place also has its own individual challenges. No two places are alike. They all involve different people and different dynamics and culture. As far as managing the challenges, it really isn't much different. I just try to make sure to reach out and connect with people and find out what has been going on there (good and bad) and what the current culture is. Then I ask how can I help? I then try to get everybody on the same page and make sure we are all aligned and "rowing in the same direction"...speaking the same language. It comes down to building trust and understanding. We are all in this together and we all want the absolute best for our student-athletes and programs, our school, and our community. But I believe the energy and leadership starts with me. I have to lead by example and find ways to help our coaches and athletes be the best they can be. I am here to serve them.

VYPE: What made you decide to apply for the Head Coach position at Ridge Point?

RICK LAFAVERS: I had been at Ridge Point before for one year as an assistant football/track coach and Biology teacher back in 2014 before heading to Lamar Consolidated to be the Athletic Coordinator/Head Football Coach there. It was really a "God thing." I was not looking to leave Lamar at all. I was very happy at Lamar and we were doing great things there. Loved the kids and the community there. But out of nowhere, the job at Ridge Point came open. I have lived in Sienna (about 3 minutes to RP) since 2007. I was commuting about 45 minutes each way to Lamar. That took a lot of time away from my family. Which also leads me to the next huge factor and really the biggest reason for pursuing Ridge Point...I have a rising senior and rising ninth grader at Ridge Point. It was an opportunity for me to coach my oldest son for the first time and also have my second son at Ridge Point as well. I also have two more sons at Scanlan Oaks ES that will eventually be at RP. So now I am immediately closer and around my kids dramatically more. Like I said before, it was an unplanned blessing and I am honored and consider it a privilege to be a part of the Ridge Point Family again and looking forward to being a part of such a great school that experiences so much success both on the field/court of play and in the classroom. The standard of excellence at Ridge Point is second to none and I absolutely love that I get to be a part of that!

VYPE: Ridge Point has been known as a great football program throughout district play, but has struggled to get past the second round these past few years. What are your plans to ensure the Panthers have a long playoff run this 2020 season?

RICK LAFAVERS: We were in Class 5A when I was here in 2014 and went 4 rounds deep. No doubt the jump to 6A has proven to be a huge gauntlet with elite talent and elite programs. Every round gets tougher. My main thing is to make sure we are prepared both mentally and physically for that gauntlet run in the playoffs. My focus will be developing a mental toughness that is unmatched along with a brotherhood of family that love and trust each other and will give everything they have for each other. See the teams that typically go the furthest in the playoffs aren't always the ones with the most talent and such. It is the teams that are the least selfish. When we can be like that and give everything we have for each other, we will be happy with the results no matter what they are.

VYPE: You have two great middle school athletic programs feeding into your school next year, are there any players you've heard of that will have a great impact on the program for the years to come?

RICK LAFAVERS: Well due to the Covid-19 break I was not able to get down to the Middle Schools and meet the kids and connect. But I have connected with a few through social media and one that stands out is QB Karson Gordon. He is going to be really special. There are many others I am sure, but he is one that I know specifically that comes to mind.

VYPE: What do you mostly look forward to doing as you take over the Ridge Point football program?

RICK LAFAVERS: I want to obviously continue to build upon the success they have had and keep raising the bar and setting the standard. But more importantly I want to make sure I am impacting these young men and helping them be the best they can be both on and off the field. I want them to eventually be great husbands and fathers. It won't matter how many games we win (and believe me I plan on winning a bunch of games) years from now, the most important thing is what kind of men will the guys I coach be when they are 30 and 40 years old. That is my purpose...to impact these guys and help them be the best in everything they do. To help them discover their greatness within.

With Coach Brett Sniffin being the only coach the school and community knows it's going to be a change for them. The Panthers held a record of 75-22 and made a playoff appearance each year with Coach Sniffin in charge. Will Coach Rick LaFavers be able to continue to build on the program or will it all fall to shambles? This upcoming Panthers' season will be one you don't want to miss.