By Vickie Echols

Public Information

            Pine Tree Athletic Department has a new leader.  Coach Derek Fitzhenry was hired by the Board of Trustees as the new athletic director/head football coach during the 6pm regular meeting on Monday, March 7, 2011.

            Many applications were received for the position which became open in early February when former Pine Tree athletic director/head football coach Huey Chancellor resigned and accepted a job at Rockport-Fulton.

            “We’ve conducted an extensive search,” Buy cheap PTISD Superintendent Marian Strauss said. “And we believe we’ve found the best match for the Pine Tree Pirates.”   The Athletic Director for Pine Tree oversees all athletic programs and serves as the head football coach for the district.

            “We experienced great success in Giddings and set many historical marks in all sports in the last six years,” said Fitzhenry in an earlier statement.  “In the eight year period I served as AD, we cut the budget by 30 percent while adding boys/girls soccer and swimming.”

            Since 2003, Fitzhenry has served as the Athletic Director/Head Football coach for Giddings High School in Giddings, Texas. During that time he supervised 20 high school sports and 12 middle school sports.  Highlights from the past eight years include:

Coach of the Year 2001, 2007 and 2008
Girls Cross Country- District Champions, 2003-2009
Boys Cross Country – District Champions, 2007-2010
Volleyball: 2009 Bi-District Finalists, 2010 Area Champions, 1st in Giddings history
Girls Basketball: 2009-2010 District Champions, 2010 State Semi-Finals, 1st in Giddings history
Girls Track: 2007-2009 District Champions, 20072008-Regional Champions
Softball:  2007 & 2010 District Champions, Playoffs 7 years in a row, 2010 Regional Champions
Baseball:  2009 & 2010 District Champions, 2009 & 2010 State Finals, 1st in Giddings history
Boys / Girls Soccer:  Added to Giddings program in 2008
Boys / Girls Swimming:  Added to Giddings program for 2011.
Football:  2003-Bi-District Finalist, 2005-Quarter Finalist; 2006-Quarter Finalist; 2007-Area finalist; 2008-Semi-Finalist; 2009-Bi-district Finalist; 2010-Bi-District Finalist.

            Fitzhenry stated, “In eight years as head football coach at Giddings, our record is 73-23.  We have won three District Championships in a row, had back to back undefeated seasons, and won four Bi-district Championships in a row.  We have placed first or second in District seven out of the eight years.  All of these accomplishments are a first in the 50 year history of Giddings Football.”

            Throughout his professional career he has successfully coached in various capacities in Permian ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, and Humble ISD, where his teams earned numerous district and state titles. Fitzhenry grew up in DeKalb, Texas; he received a BS in Physical Education and Health at Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Education Administration degree at Texas A & M University at Prairie View.   

            In responding to why he and his family made the decision to come to Pine Tree he said, “I would like to help build a successful athletic program and I look forward to working for a school district that takes pride in discipline.  I also want to be part of a school district that offers a quality education for my family.”

            He will assume his role as the new Athletic Director immediately, starting the week of March 7. He and his wife, Angele, have three children Brock, age 22, Spencer, age 17 and Kade, age 11.

            The public will be invited to meet the new AD and his family at a special event which is planned for an evening at the end of March.  Details will follow soon.

            Also during Monday’s meeting, the board recognized the first place award earned by the Junior High UIL Academic Team and conducted a public hearing about a proposed stadium for the district.  The next meeting, slated for Thursday, March 10, the board is expected to consider calling a bond proposal for the May 14th election.