Golden Eagles Return Home to Give Back in the Classroom and on the Field
For six former Klein Forest students, coaching at their former high school is more than a dream. It’s a return to the place that poured so much into them. It’s their chance to give back to the community that raised them so well.
It’s the Forest, and they’re home.
“Klein ISD has been a part of my life for more than 20 years,” Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator John Wilson said. “I went to Klenk Elementary, Wunderlich Intermediate, and Klein Forest High School. It’s been and is still a part of me, so it means a lot to me to be back home.”
When given the opportunity, Klein Forest Principal Lance Alexander knew that he wanted to hire Wilson right off the bat.
“I coached John when he was here at Klein Forest,” Alexander said. “His mom works here, his brother played here, and while I was an Assistant Principal at Klein Oak, I was able to see the class, character, and love he showed for kids every day. When I was able to bring him here, it was a no brainer.”
For Freshman B Team Offensive Coordinator Luis Ochoa coming home to Klein Forest is like returning to a family he’s always been a part of.
“Klein Forest has always felt like family for me,” Ochoa said. “I have a long history here. My grandmother used to work here. She was a custodian who retired in May from Klein ISD, and my mother has been working here for 16 years. Now, it’s my turn.”
For many of these men, their entire education before college came from Klein ISD schools.
“We have guys who have graduated from here, so our hearts and souls are with Klein Forest High School,” Credit Recovery teacher and Basketball and Football Assistant Coach Darius Gatson said. “It’s like being back home, and there’s no better feeling than that.”
Gatson’s sentiment rang true for all the other coaches.
“To see teammates of mine on the same coaching staff and to see administrators that are still here from when I was here, it’s just amazing,” Physical Education teacher and Defensive/Academic Coordinator Kyle Kelley said. “To know that the community is behind us and ready to support our student-athletes is a great feeling.”
The relationships built and memories made at Klein Forest are a testament to what the school’s focus is: the kids.
“The story here is it’s all about the kids,” Physical Education teacher and Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach Rodney Freeman said. “Right now, we want to change the culture and change the mindset of what other people think about Klein Forest.”
The goal of the Klein Forest community has always been giving their students a chance at life.
“The teachers, the coaches, and everyone surrounding me lifted me up and helped me out.” Special Education teacher and Varsity Linebackers Coach Darryl Simon said. “They put me on the right track towards life, so that’s what I’m grateful for.”
Without a doubt, the Klein Forest family is committed to their students for their entire lives, not just when they are walking the school’s hallways.
“We hire people that love our kids and know where our kids come from,” Alexander said. “They also have a part in the community that we serve because we’re not just serving the kids here at Klein Forest, we’re serving a wonderful community. We just want to be something the community can be proud of.”
For Coach Wilson, there is nothing that beats a smile.
“What brings me joy is when you get to see the smile on their face after that game and see how happy they are,” Wilson said. “It’s not about the wins and losses; it’s the happiness we get from the kids.”
The 2020-2021 Klein Forest football team is being coached by Klein Forest Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach John Wilson (Class of ‘07) and Coaches Darius Gatson (Class of ‘09), Rodney Freeman (Class of ‘04), Kyle Kelley (Class of ‘12), Darryl Simon (Class of ‘11), and Luis Ochoa (Class of ‘10) — all Klein Forest alumni.
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About Klein ISD
Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 87.5 square miles and serves more than 54,000 students in 33 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, one high school program of choice, and 5 high schools.
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