New Nederland football coach outlines his plan; district leader shares enthusiasm

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

NEDERLAND — Scott Rich has a plan in place.

Step one is to meet with Nederland High School Principal Natalie Gomez and find out what the athletic building is like and figure those benefits and opportunities.

The newly named high school athletic director and head football coach was enthusiastic but businesslike following his approval for the positions Monday evening from the Nederland ISD Board of Trustees.

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“I want to get with the coaches as quick as possible, meet with the players as fast as we can and get into the junior highs,” he said. “I have a young one who will be coming up here pretty quickly as an eighth grader. I want to meet the junior high coaches as fast as possible.”

Rich served at Katy High School for eight years as the assistant football coach over quarterbacks prior to joining Nederland High School.

He holds a degree from the University of North Texas.

He told Port Arthur Newsmedia that the Bulldogs are going to be a program about young men and women of class and character.

“That is how you win,” he said. “You work your tail off everyday in the classroom, on the field and in the community.”

Nederland High School football coach and athletic director Scott Rich addresses the room during Monday’s school board meeting. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

Opportunity

The position became open following the Jan. 8 resignation of Monte Barrow.

Barrow had been a 30-year school district employee.

In 2022, a young Nederland team finished 2-8 on the season (2-5 in District 9-5A Division II). The then sophomore-heavy team was competitive in many games despite the final record.

In 2023, the Nederland Bulldogs’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the Lake Creek Lions, 53-6, on the road in Montgomery.

The loss was a tough one for the Bulldogs, whose season concluded with a 4-7 overall record.

Following Barrow’s resignation, Superintendent Dr. Stuart Kieschnick said a statewide search was started that included vetting more than 40 candidates.

The Bulldogs go through pre-game warm-ups before Nederland’s home game Oct. 13, 2023. (Keagan Smith/The News)

Program change

Kieschnick said Rich’s enthusiasm, work ethic and grit won over the interview committee’s approval.

The school board followed up that endorsement with unanimous approval Monday night.

According to Kieschnick, Nederland administrators are “100 percent sold” their new athletic director is the person to get the football program and whole athletic program on a track to prominence.

“The committee saw he had the it factor,” Kieschnick said. “He wants to have success here, end his career here, which he is a long way from being toward the end. He has told us and stated to us that he wants this to be my last stop. He wants to have success here and build a dynasty.

“It’s all about establishing a culture. We believe he can establish that culture, not only of winning, working hard and playing hard but doing it the right way. We want the people of Nederland to be proud of our young men and women athletes.”

Rich said he envisions Bulldogs athletes competing with grit and passion.

“I want them to not have hope that they can win, but to know and have the inner drive and feeling that they can win. It’s not this fluke,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, this is the last job I will ever have. I think my wife hopes that too, so we don’t have to move around anymore. It’s not a stepping stone for me. It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”

Rich said he is excited about Nederland and what the athletics program means to the community.

“I am excited about the opportunity that the (school) board has given me. I am really happy about the opportunity,” he said.