Former Red Raider picked as Cubs Coach

May 2, 2018

Brownfield Superintendent Chris Smith announced Tuesday morning that standout Texas Tech defensive end Duane Toliver will helm the Cubs football team and athletics department following the departure last month of Jeff Smith.

Smith headed up the search committee to fill the vital role and told the Brownfield News that he is confident the right man has been found. He notified school board members and they will ratify the hire at a special called meeting Friday morning.

Toliver told the News Tuesday morning that he is excited about coaching the Cubs.

“This is a destination job for me,” he said. “This isn’t a stepping stone. I intend to stay here and implement a system and a program that will benefit our students and our athletes for years to come. I want my kids to graduate as Cubs.”

Toliver, 40, will move to Brownfield with his wife of 13 years, Michelle, and their two children: a son, Tray, in the seventh grade, and a daughter, Jordyn, in the fifth grade.

He is a 1996 graduate of Knox City High School and a 1999 graduate of Texas Tech University, where he played football for former Red Raider coaches Spike Dykes and Mike Leach and alongside current coach Kliff Kingsbury.

“I know a lot of guys at every level and I think those connections could be very valuable to the athletes here in Brownfield,” he said.

He comes to Brownfield after two seasons with the Tulia Hornets and head coaching stints in Claude and Las Lunas, NM.

He said the hard working, blue collar nature of Brownfield attracted him to the job.

“People here earn what they have and that’s the kind of place I want my kids to grow up in,” he said. “My whole family is excited about this and ready to get here. We’ll be members of the community.”

On the field, Toliver said he will continue the familiar spread offense made popular by Texas Tech, but he will wait to evaluate his players before committing to a game plan.

“I’ve worked with running teams and I’ve worked with throwing teams and I have had success with both,” he said. “In high school football, you work with who walks through the door, but I have a good eye for talent and putting the right kids in the right spots. I start looking for my quarterbacks in the sixth grade. I’m a big believer in developing what we have.”

On that note, the coach said he believes in continuity and the importance of putting in time and effort at the middle school level.

“They will be seeing a lot of me at BMS,” he told the News. “Starting with sixth grade pre-athletics, through seventh and eighth grade, that’s where your program begins. That’s where you lay the foundation for success at the varsity level.”

Off the field, Toliver said he places a heavy emphasis on schoolwork and good grades.

“When Coach Dykes sat at my mother’s dining room table and asked her to let me come play football for him, she said she wasn’t concerned with sports, but if he was going to help me get a college education, then I could go,” he said. “Because of that, I graduated college in three years with a business degree, so I think athletics and education can change lives. That’s what drove me into teaching and coaching. I want to give that chance to more kids.”

Toliver hopes to be on the ground in Brownfield as soon as possible, following his hiring Friday morning.

He intends to run a Cubs football camp for local youth this summer.

The search committee consisted of Superintendent Smith, Interim Superintendent Kelly Bagget, BHS Principal Mike Moffit, and BMS Principal Art Ontiveros.

Smith said more than 60 applications were received. Of those applicants, 14 were interviewed.

“That’s a lot of interviews and more than is typical, but I wanted to make absolutely sure we found the right person for this important job,” he said. “And I am confident that we did exactly that. Coach Toliver has the experience and the pedigree that will help make Brownfield athletics the best they can be.”

Smith said he emphasized to Toliver that his Athletic Director was an extension of his administrative leadership team.

“He’s not going to be sitting at the field house,” he said. “He’s going to be in the community and he’s going to be working in our schools.

Coach Toliver exemplifies that and he’s excited about filling that role, in addition to his duties in the athletic department.”

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