When Coppell (Texas) High finally decided to part ways with longtime baseball coach Don English, many familiar with the program were shocked. After all, English had spent nine years at the school, leading the Cowboys to the playoffs in eight of those campaigns and reaching the Class 5A semifinals more than once.
English's departure meant that Coppell needed a steady hand for one of the school's more successful programs, so the athletic department turned to Plano (Texas) West High head man Kendall Clark (pictured at right).
It was a hire that made sense: According to the Dallas Morning News, Clark led the Panthers to the 2008 Class 5A state title, and nearly duplicated the feat in 2010, highlights of a seven-year tenure with Plano West in which the Wolves were transformed from a run-of-the-mill squad to annual contender for the state title.
Of course, Clark's departure created an unanticipated opening of its own, and, according to the Morning News, the Plano West athletic department wasted little time in picking Clark's successor: English.
That's right, in completely unintentional fashion the head coaches at two rival Dallas-area high schools essentially played leapfrog, with one's ascension to one school leading to the other's installment at the other.
Not surprisingly, the scenario is nearly unprecedented, particularly for two programs with legacies as successful as Coppell and Plano West.
Of course, the man most surprised by the switch is English himself, who now will get to coach a program closer to his home on the east side of Plano. That's just one reason English (pictured at right) is excited to get started at a new program for the first time in a decade.
"I feel fortunate to land at one of the outstanding schools around," English told the Morning News.
The school was fortunate to land English, too, considering the fact that his nine year career at Coppell included 211 wins and only 106 losses.
As for Clark, it appears that the change may have simply come at the right time, when the coach and his entire staff -- including his brother, assistant varsity coach Kevin Clark -- ready for a new challenge.
Now they'll get that new start at a program that has become synonymous with the man who is leading their former haunting ground, as bizarre as that may be for fans of both programs.