Highland Lakes football player Hanner Shipley is following in the footsteps of his father Stephen and uncle Bob by becoming a football head coach.
The younger Shipley is reviving the football program at Athens Christian Preparatory Academy after a six-year hiatus. He will spend the 2022-23 academic year preparing for the Storm’s return to the gridiron in the fall of 2023.
Shipley, who graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2019 with a degree is sociology, lives in Athens with his wife, Audrey, and has been working at the Texas Insurance Agency for a year. Once the couple moved, the 2014 Marble Falls High School graduate discovered the academy and saw it didn’t have a football program. After talking to his wife and praying, Shipley was led to request a meeting with school officials in November where he told them he’d like to coach football for the school.
After listening to his background, including playing for a six-man program at Faith Academy of Marble Falls and helping his father, Flames head football coach Stephen Shipley, school officials said they’d be delighted for the younger Shipley, who also attended Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, to lead the football team.
“I told them I’d love to contribute my time and knowledge to starting a football team,” he said. “They actually said yes on the spot. We started tenatively planning stuff. They had a football program about six years ago. They lost some of their guys and had to find other guys. We talked about being equally yoked. They’re looking to send kids into the world and preparing them for what’s coming.”
A matching vision of how sports helps players and loving students made it easy for Shipley to commit.
The school made the announcement of football returning with Shipley as the head coach June 20.
“In the summer (of 2023), I’ll hold some football camps and we’ll play in 6-on-6 tournaments,” he said. “We’ll also have spring football. We’ll get the kids in pads. We’re going to try to see what kind players we have and the number of players.”
He plans to put together the 2023 schedule during the winter and will have a better idea of opponents once a decision is made on if the program will join an athletic association or if it’ll be an independent.
Shipley is starting the program from scratch, so donations of all sorts, including equipment, are much appreciated and donors can contact him at 903-249-9739 or athletic director Ronnie Rains at 903-288-8445 for more information. Shipley wants to have a coaching staff that includes at least one more offensive-minded individual and two defensive-minded coaches. Some ACPA alumni have contacted him offering to coach. He also hopes to have student managers.
As for what kind of scheme he’ll run, the new head coach said he’d know more after watching his players.
“It all depends on personnel,” he said. “I’ve been working on plays, and I have a lot of my dad’s plays. Having a football camp is going to help me out.”
While his dad’s influence is obvious — the elder Shipley was a receiver for TCU — Hanner Shipley was equally influenced by Russell Roberts, his Faith Academy head coach, who had both a potent rushing and passing attack.
Now that he and his dad are head coaches, will their two teams play each other?
“I honestly have been talking to my dad about that,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe we’ll meet at a neutral site or have a scrimmage or a preseason game. We haven’t decided. I’d like to schedule a Shipley Showdown.”
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