Curtis Cole brings familiar face as new Lone Grove football coach

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Curtis Cole, right, is the new head coach of the Longhorns after spending the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator. Cole is entering his 10th year at Lone Grove.

Curtis Cole is no stranger to Lone Grove, especially when it comes to athletics.

He’s entering his 10th year with the school and spent the past three seasons as defensive coordinator for the Longhorns.

So it’s not too surprising that Cole was happy to take the reins of the Lone Grove football program.

“I felt like it was good time for me to step into that head coaching role and just give the kids a very familiar face for them to be around,” he said. “And kind of know what the expectations were going to be. That there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of change. And that they were going to be very familiar with everything that was going on.”

Cole will still have his work cut out for him as the Longhorns graduated 14 seniors off a squad that finished 8-4 overall and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.

That doesn’t worry the new coach though, as he knows the lower-level classes will be instrumental in continuing that success in 2021 and beyond.

“I think we’ve done a good job of developing our young talent and getting those guys ready to step up and fill the shoes of some of the guys who graduated,” Cole said. “It won’t be an easy task, but I feel like we have the dudes who can go in and do it, for sure.”

And Cole should know, as he’s helped guide younger athletes when they were in third or fourth grade all the way through middle school to high school.

“When I was doing my student-teaching, I believe the seniors were in the first grade,” Cole said. “These guys, we’ve been around each other for a very long time.”

That connection will pay off down the road and it was already on display when Cole told the Longhorns that he was their new head coach.

“They were excited — they were ready to kind of take that weight off their shoulders of that unknown,” he said. “Some kids kind of get worried with the unknown, but once we were able to tell them and kind of ease some of their thoughts, everything was really good. They were thrilled, they were happy.”

The happiness should also continue on the field as Cole isn’t much different than former head coach Brad O’Steen. And while the two may not be carbon copies, they did agree on a number of factors that resulted in success.

“There’s not a whole lot of stuff that stands out between me and coach O’Steen,” Cole said. “We were good friends. We got along really well. We worked really well together. We were able to bounce ideas back and forth from each other. Philosophically on some things, there are differences. And that’s part of being your own coach and using your experiences of what you’ve gone through.

“But it’s nothing off the wall,” Cole continued. “We were still in the same realm of thought a lot of times on how we wanted to handle everything within the program.”