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KF coach Darrick Vaughn
KLEIN FOREST MAY LOOK SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT ON THE GRIDIRON THIS FALL, WITH A CULTURE CHANGE COURTESY OF NEWCOMER DARRICK VAUGHN.
In addition to taking over as the head football coach, Vaughn will be the high school’s athletic director. With 19 years of experience in education, the Golden Eagles’ newest head man has a clear understanding of what he hopes to accomplish.
“My coaches were a big influence on my life growing up, so I just want to give back,” said Vaughn. “I believe in being a servant leader. I’m here to serve these young men and women, to help them become great members of society."
“This is my second stop in Klein ISD, and I believe in our shared vision – promise to purpose,” Vaughn said. “I understand our role is to help these kids excel in the classroom and in athletics.”
Vaughn’s experience in football, in particular, speaks for itself.
He’s already won a state championship with Dekaney (5A-DII) in 2011, not to mention he played defensive back in the NFL (Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans) between 2000 and 2003, which feeds into his coaching tactics.
“I’m more of a defensive-style coach,” he said. “Last year, they had a lot of success on the defensive side of the ball. So, having Coach (Kyle) Kelley and his staff back will be huge. It gives me the opportunity to assist with the offense and give them a viewpoint from a defensive perspective.”
Not long after being introduced to the Klein Forest roster, Vaughn has already begun to recognize the potential he sees in the team.
“When I first came here, on the first day of Speed and Conditioning Camp and SSI (Sport- Specific Instruction), I was thoroughly impressed,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here. We, as coaches, have to put it all together. Last year we finished 5-5, so our sole goal is to turn that into a playoff team.”
Despite all the talent at his disposal, particularly that of his seniors, Vaughn emphasized that he’ll employ the skill of everyone on the roster to build upon last season’s successes.
“It’s going to take the efforts of everybody to succeed,” said Vaughn. “We believe in the core values – having a common purpose, shared honor and mutual dependency. So, everyone is going to be called upon to get the job done.”
It’s been over a decade since the Golden Eagles reached the postseason. Could this be the year they flip the script?
Coach Remon Smith of Klein Forest Track & Field
Coach Remon Smith has enjoyed numerous successes throughout his coaching career.
But, none have compared to that of this past Spring, in which his Klein Forest team dominated at the UIL State Meet to earn an undisputed state championship.
Given that fact, it makes sense that he was recognized as both the Milesplit National Coach of the Year, as well as the Houston Chronicle’s Greater Houston 6A Coach of the Year
However, he didn’t give all the credit to himself.
“Words can’t really explain how great it feels to be recognized,” Smith said. “I’m excited. For me, I feel like the award is for my team, my community, my coaching staff, and the school itself. I just happen to be the recipient of it, but it was thanks to their efforts.”
As previously mentioned, Smith has had the privilege to work with numerous talented individuals throughout his tenure as a coach. His scope of influence began with his first coaching job, as the MacArthur girls coach in the mid-90s, before coaching the Nimitz boys track coach, and ultimately joining Klein Forest, seven years ago.
Of course, Smith recognized this too.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with some phenomenal young athletes, ranging from the girls I coached at MacArthur, to my first stint as a boys coach at Nimitz, before being blessed with the unbelievably talented athletes I’ve gotten to know at Klein Forest.”
“Through my career, I’ve learned how to understand the individuals--to motivate them and help them to succeed, which is all a coach can do. But again, I’ve just been blessed to be around such talented athletes. I just tell them, ‘Hey, I’m going to make sure the bus gets there on time, and get you home safe,’ and they do the rest.”
As a coach, it certainly can’t hurt to have some of the most well-rounded competitors in the state.
2022-23 Klein Forest Boys Track & FieldBradley C. Collier (VYPE)
“I think what separates the [Klein Forest] guys I’ve worked with is the fact that they are willing to do what others aren’t. They try to make the uncomfortable comfortable in their pursuit of titles. Those guys work hard and they are very resilient, both mentally and physically, which allows them to go to the next level.”
Talent aside, what’s the secret ingredient that coach Smith incorporates into his program--one that turns exemplary athletes into champions?
“I make them believe in themselves,” he said. “I try to help them understand that the only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself. They buy into that, and a lot of them will go on to exceed their own expectations. I think that’s another thing that has allowed me to succeed as a coach.”
You had better believe that coach Smith--and, by extension, Klein Forest--are far from done, when it comes to state championships.
Expect the team to be hungry for more, come next Spring.