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New Falcons coach ready to 'hit ground running'

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
After five seasons serving as offensive coordinator under former coach William Harris, new head coach Roshaad Byrd said he is ready to "hit the ground running" with the Falcons in 2021,

Roshaad Byrd, the new head football coach at Van Horn High School, said he is ready to “hit the ground running” after serving as former coach William Harris’ offensive coordinator the past five years.

Byrd said his familiarity with the program and his players will help him in his first job as a head coach.

“We are ready to hit the ground running,” Byrd said. “The guys know me, I know our players, we’re ready to roll – and I can’t wait.

Byrd, a native of Meridian Miss., played defensive end for Southern Mississippi, appearing in 40 games and recording 19 starts from 2006 to 2010 before entering into the coaching profession. 

Roshaad Byrd

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for me,” Byrd said. “Being with Coach Harris all these years, I know how important it is to build football players, but more importantly, to build young men.

“The guys at Van Horn have bought into our program, and that is the reason we have been successful.”

Byrd said he hopes to keep all the assistants he worked with alongside Harris the past five years.

“Right now, solidifying our coaching staff is my No. 1 goal,” Byrd said. “They are heart and soul coaches and great individuals and I am so honored to have worked alongside them the past five years and hope to continue working with them in the future.”

Harris recently announced that he was leaving Van Horn to return to his alma mater, Raytown South High School, and he is thrilled a member of his staff is stepping into the head coaching position.

“We were together for two years as assistant coaches at Raytown before I came over here and I told Coach (Chris) Corrie (Van Horn activities director) that I had to bring him along with me,” Harris said.

“I work hard, and I believe I work as hard as any coach I know. But let me tell you, Coach Byrd has the same type of work ethic and passion for football that I do, and he’s going to be great at Van Horn.”

When asked about Byrd being the first head coach on the William Harris coaching tree, he just chuckled.

“That’s right,” Harris said, a lighthearted tone in his voice. “I’m so proud he’s the first. We go back a long way and I am so proud of him.”

Harris was 22-30 in his five seasons with the Falcons, including 17-15 the last three seasons.

Corrie is happy to have that continuity for the program.

“We have a lot of great coaches and men on our coaching staff at Van Horn,” Corrie said. “When we interviewed Roshaad, we knew that we had found our new head coach.

“He is so impressive, he has been a part of the program for five years – all with Coach Harris – and I personally love to give a young coach the opportunity to have his first head coaching position.”

Sean Mitchell – the outstanding senior quarterback who has been such a prominent player in the Falcons’ success and just signed with NCAA Division II William Jewell – was also thrilled with the hiring.

“When I came to Van Horn, I was just this shy freshman who didn’t know what to say or what to do,” Mitchell said. “Coach Byrd and Coach Harris brought me out of my shell.

“I owe those two men so much, especially Coach Byrd because we worked side by side for four years. Coach Harris worked with the defense and Coach Byrd worked with the offense and he changed my life – helped make me the man I am today.

“I was hoping he would become the new head coach and I was so thrilled for him and the team when I heard the announcement.”