Written by Corbett Smith
Monster mashup: Allen plus Lewisville, McKinney schools form 9 team mega-district
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS – Hebron football coach Brian Brazil – a former all-SWC offensive tackle at TCU – looked like he was ready to block someone to the ground. He wasn’t happy, and he wasn’t alone. As the new district alignments from the UIL flashed up on the screens at the Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex, Brazil and other coaches and athletic directors from large schools north of the Dallas city limits couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
“That makes no sense,” Brazil said. “Just look at it!”
Starting for the 2014-15 school year, the biennial make-up of District 6-6A is Allen, Flower Mound, Flower Mound Marcus, Lewisville, McKinney Boyd, Plano, Plano East and Plano West.
“That nine-team monster,” is how McKinney athletic director Shawn Pratt referred to it.
Monster is a good description.
Allen, Plano West, Plano and Plano East are the four largest high schools in the state. All the nine schools have talented athletic programs that compete across a wide spectrum of sports.
“Man, it’s tough,” Plano ISD athletic director Gerald Brence said. “Up and down the board, it’s got to be one of most competitive districts, looking at all the boys and girls sports, in the state – if not THE most competitive.”
“It’s great for fans … and bad for coaches.”
The new district includes state’s current defending champions in football (Allen), girls soccer (Plano West), softball (Lewisville), and wrestling (Allen); Flower Mound Marcus, McKinney Boyd and Plano have also won state titles in recent years.
Baseball, basketball, soccer – it’s hard to find a sport where talented teams won’t struggle to make the playoffs.
“Some of the best teams in the state will be left behind,” Boyd girls soccer coach Meagan Wilson said.
UIL athletic director Mark Cousins said that the league didn’t look at the quality of teams in a given sport when it draws up new districts. In fact, that’s something they “specifically try not to look at,” he said.
“What might be a strong district in one area might not be as strong in the others,” Cousins said. “We try to stay away from that, because it’s difficult when you try and start to look at all the other activities involved.”
A nine-team district, though, is hard to rationalize. Region I had two seven-team Dallas-Fort Worth area districts (7-6A and 8-6A), so others could have absorbed a team – McKinney Boyd for example.
The creation of two West Texas districts, expanding from a single district in the last alignment, made the rest of the state to absorb the loss of a district, Cousins said.
Geographically, the district made sense, Cousins said.
“Obviously, when you put a district together like that with nine teams in it, and you know a lot of them are successful teams, that’s something that’s going to be a topic of discussion,” Cousins said. “But, geographically and in other kinds of ways, we felt like it was the best fit for the area, and allowed us to do the other things we needed to do to get the districts put together in a way that we felt like was appropriate.”
“But, ultimately, we understand that not everybody is going to agree with that.”