WHITEWRIGHT — Even though the change came on short notice, Whitewright is taking the long view.
With the Tigers coming off their best season in 13 years, the Whitewright school board voted to approve the two-year contract of Mason Edwards to be the head football coach and athletic director on Monday night.
Edwards, who was the offensive line coach for the Tigers in his lone season at Whitewright, is a head coach for the first time and was elevated after the departure of Joe Williams. Williams stepped down on April 5 and Whitewright moved quickly to maintain continuity.
‘That was super important, to have this blessing in this,” Edwards said. “He’s the reason I’m here. Coach Williams was looking for a Wing-T guy and brought me in.”
Continuity is something that has been hard to come by at Whitewright — Edwards is the sixth head coach in the last decade and no head football coach has made it to a third season at Whitewright since Chuck Lipsey from 2003-07.
“We hope this is a long relationship,” Whitewright superintendent Steve Arthur said. “That’s the goal.”
Whitewright went 8-5 this past fall, the program’s best playoff showing, as well as the first playoff victory, since 2004. It was an improvement over the 3-7 mark during Williams’ first season with the Tigers.
“The number one thing is the kids we have here, they’re tough and they’re committed,” Edwards said. “It was a perfect fit for my family.”
Whitewright earned third place in the newly realigned District 6-3A (II) that included eventual state champion Gunter.
The Tigers opened the postseason with a 17-14 victory as Neal Taylor kicked a field goal as time expired. Whitewright then advanced to the Class 3A Division II Region II semifinals with a 56-28 victory against District 8-3A champ Edgewood before its comeback fell short in a 35-28 loss against Winona.
“We’re going to be exactly the same offense. Our kids have had a year in the system,” Edwards said. “We’re going to be young. When you lose 16 seniors (20 starting spots) it’s going to be tough. But I feel great about Whitewright and what it has to offer.”
After Edwards graduated from East Texas Baptist in 1997, he began a career that spent almost all of his time on the offensive side of the ball, overseeing the line.
His first season, as an assistant at Itasca, was the only one with a defensive foray as he oversaw the offensive and defensive lines.
For three seasons he was in the Irving ISD as the offensive line coach at Lamar Middle School. He then went to Venus and was the quarterbacks coach in 2000 before serving as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and o-line coach for two seasons.
Edwards then was in a teaching-only capacity at Cleburne for three seasons. He then got out of the profession as his wife took a physician assistant position in the Metroplex and the couple had three young children, which made his job change nesseccary. They eventually moved to Grayson County in 2010.
“I intended to get out one and it lasted eight or nine,” Edwards said. “I realized I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t impacting kids.”
He got back into coaching at Allen and was an assistant coach with duties covering freshman receivers and offensive line for the 2015 season and then arrived at Whitewright last year.
Over the course of his career he has also coached basketball, baseball, powerlifting, golf wrestling and track.