Kirbyville CISD has gone through several years of turmoil, beginning in May of 2017. The death of the high school principal in the parking lot just after school finished for the year started a series of issues for the district.
That superintendent, school administration, and the district became entrenched in a lawsuit that cost the district thousands of dollars to defend. The lawsuit spanned several years and numerous court dates before being dismissed.
That was not the only legal issue the district faced. A former athletic director and coaches were the subjects of a police investigation into allegations of alleged abuse of high school student-athletes.
As a result of that investigation, which was dropped, the high school principal was suspended and eventually terminated. The high school saw several changes in administration, teachers, and coaches after a very public student protest after the suspension and eventual firing of Farias.
Over the last six years, the district has gone through three superintendents, three principals, several high school vice principals, and three athletic directors. As all this constant change and friction was going on with those in charge, the students sat back and watched.
Participation declined in sports across the board. Attendance at games dropped, athletes felt the weight of each loss on the scoreboard, and pride in our teams and school suffered. Despite the hostile atmosphere, many boys refused to give up, quit, and turn in their helmets. They took the field every game and gave everything they had.
The future of Kirbyville CISD looked bleak. As the school year closed in 2021, KCISD began looking for a new athletic director. A hiring committee was formed with specific qualifications they wanted to see in their athletic director.
Out of 50 candidates, the district selected Trey Allen. The superintendent at the time said Allen checked every single item on their wish list for applicants.
Allen took over with a monumental task. He systematically began going through the entire department, creating a list of goals, and addressing issues, including new uniforms and ensuring equipment was new and safe.
One of his main focuses is reaching out to junior high students. He stated that he would like to see 6th-grade physical education focusing on introducing students to sports to prepare for 7th grade.
“The junior high is your future. They will see me at the junior high campus every week. They need to get to know me, and I need to be an encouragement for them. My job is to build them up and keep them improving,” stated Allen.
The effort of Allen and other coaches has sent a ripple effect throughout the district. Along with new High School Principal Leslie Williams and Vice Principal Casey Bostick, the atmosphere has changed at Kirbyville High School.
Participation in sports has bounced back at high school and the junior high and sports leagues in town. Instead of putting wins on the scoreboard, Allen’s approach to lifting up each player and student has created the perfect environment for athletes to excel.
Their attitude changed, their belief in themselves grew, and they took the field last season more confidently than they had in years.
The Kirbyville Wildcats have yet to go to the playoffs since 2016. In 2020, the Wildcats finished the season 4-5, and in 2022, 3-7. Last year, the Wildcats improved their overall record to 4-5, and a tiebreaker prevented Kirbyville from reaching the playoffs.
This year, the Wildcats were predicted to finish in fifth place at the bottom of the district.
This year, these athletes took the field and showed them how absolutely wrong that prediction was.
Moreover, it continued beyond varsity. Every Kirbyville football team had an outstanding season, from flag football to varsity.
Kirbyville Youth Flag Football -third place
Kirbyville Youth Junior Tackle- first place
Kirbyville Youth Senior Tackle- 5-5 record
Kirbyville Junior High 7th grade- 7-1 record
Kirbyville Junior High 8th grade- 6-2 record
Kirbyville High School Junior Varsity – 9-0-1 record
Kirbyville High School Varsity – District champs 8-2
Tonight, the Kirbyville Wildcats will take on the Shepard Pirates in the first playoff game since 2016. These athletes have gone through chaos, stress, and upheaval and have come out fighting. Under the direction of Principal Williams and Athletic Director Allen, they have earned the community’s respect and reinstated our pride for Kirbyville.