Coach Byrd is a teacher who coached varsity soccer for 20 years. He was the coach when soccer was first introduced into high school as a high school sport. So, as a little goodbye we asked Coach Byrd a couple of questions:
Is there anything you wish you had known when you first started teaching here at Austin high school?
“Well, I guess back when I coached varsity soccer for 20 years, I guess I would have wanted to know their commitment to soccer. Because the commitment was not very high. Not from me or the athletes just from the school in general.”
What is the best advice you could give about teaching?
“Just know what you are getting into, it is extremely rewarding getting to participate in students growing up and getting successes in the classroom and on the field, but the pay isn’t particularly good and there can be gaps of little respect in the community and the biggest thing is you have to be committed because a coach can have a lifelong impact on their students. A good coach or teacher will make a connection that can last a lifetime.”
How many years have you been a teacher for?
“41 years, I Started coaching soccer in Texas when they first added it as a high school sport and it was rough it did not get a lot of respect, and it got a lot of hate because people did not want athletes to leave football and other sports to play soccer. On top of that, people didn’t know much about it.”
What is Your favorite part of teaching?
“Really making a difference, I do not think there are any other jobs that have as much impact on young people as a teacher does, but it is really a people thing, over the years getting emails from past students and them talking about what you have taught them over the years. As a matter of fact, a couple of days ago a couple of students were in a group chat about when I disciplined them and at the time, they did not understand it, but they do now. And as a teacher I get to influence how people see things and influence their future. There is really no other job as impactful.”
What is your favorite soccer team?
“Manchester United, because early on when I went to the first school, I ever taught at I had two brothers that were huge British boys and loved Manchester United, but I just love to watch good soccer. I love to watch any good tactical team play.”