by Janette Blackwell
According to Superintendent of Schools Brad McEachern, the highlight of the March 25 Warren ISD Board of Trustees meeting was the approval to hire Chris Babin as athletic director and head football coach. Babin will assume his duties in Warren as soon as he wraps up loose ends to transition from his present athletic director position at Deweyville ISD.
Babin will succeed John Woodard's 2½ years as Warren's athletic director, as Woodard accepted an athletic director position in the northeast Texas community of Quitman.
The numerous applications received in response to the open position reflected a great deal of interest in both the district and the career opportunity. McEachern stated that the Board and administration are excited to welcome Babin, and that "we believe he'll have a great impact on our kids."
Babin himself says he has been intrigued by Warren ISD's sports program for some time. As a matter of fact, two years ago when Woodard was selected for the athletic director position, Babin applied for the role, too. The Lumberton native is familiar with Warren's community reputation as one of supportive, good people, and views the district as "good parents, good kids and good administrators." He is eager to work with the Superintendent, who he has known for some time, and describes McEachern as "a great guy – a 'kid' guy."
After graduating from Lumberton High School, and then Texas A&M-Commerce, Babin's first coaching position was training freshmen and eighth graders at his own alma mater. After two years on the job, he was promoted to offensive coordinator at the 4A school. When he started, the team had not won a game for two years, but by 2008 they won the district championship.
In 2009, the 27-year-old received an offer to assume the head football coach position for Houston ISD's inner city Scarborough High School. When he arrived, he says, "the team had won only one game in four or five years, and it was a big deal" when he led them to a 2-8 year.
As delighted as Babin was with the head football coach position, the family found that they missed the down-home country living afforded by the Piney Woods. When he was offered the offensive coordinator position in Lumberton in 2010, he jumped at the opportunity to return to their roots, and he remained in Lumberton for two years, until Deweyville offered him a challenge he couldn't resist.
The Deweyville Pirates hadn't seen the playoffs since 2007, but won district with an 8-3 record his first year there. It was the eighth time in the school's history they had competed in the playoffs. The school's cumulative record for Babin's two years at Deweyville is 17-5, a sharp contrast to their previous record, and the Pirates competed in district playoffs in both 2012 and 2013.
Babin's family is glad to be back in deep East Texas. His wife, Mandy, is the curriculum coordinator for the Lumberton ISD secondary education program, as well as its cross-country coach. The couple has two daughters, Hailey and Hannah, and one son, Hayden.
Babin is forward looking in regard to Warren's Warriors. He has taken Deweyville to "one of the best rushing offense teams in the state, and I'll bring that same system to Warren," he states. Although Warren has not competed in playoffs since 2005, Babin predicts a promising future for the team.
As an outside observer of Warren's athletes in competition, Babin says, "There's a good group coming up," and describes the students as "hard-working kids." For several years, he has watched Warren teams compete across its various athletic programs and is confident of a bright future. Babin states that his own daughters' involvement in middle school volleyball and cross-country stirs his eagerness to take Warren's girls to new heights of competitive achievement. In addition to his duties as athletic director and head football coach, Babin will also serve as head softball coach for the district.
Superintendent McEachern reported that human resource business at the March Board meeting also included renewing existing teacher contracts. In other business the Board voted to approve the 2014-2015 school year Instructional Material Allotment and TEKS Certification required for submission to the Texas Education Agency, the 2014-2015 school calendar, the disposition of old computers according to schedule, as well as financial and tax office reports.