Longview News-Journal sports reporter Thomas Bingham caught up with future Pine Tree High School head football coach Jason Bachman in this week’s Q&A piece. The former Pirates’ offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach will take over for his predecessor, Kerry Lane, who will officially replace the retiring Jody Berryhill in the Pine Tree ISD athletic director position at the same time in June 2022.
Q: The Longview News-Journal’s Jack Stallard reported on Tuesday that you would be Pine Tree’s next head football coach, and former head coach Kerry Lane would be promoted to the school’s athletic director role. What excites you most about your future role at Pine Tree?
A: It’s an opportunity to serve on a larger scale and scope. You go from being a coach, and you’ve got your position group. That’s your area of influence. Then, you go to being a coordinator, so your scope broadens a little bit more. And then in this role, I’m stepping into it now. I don’t have any experience of it, but I have enough awareness to be able to see and connect dots that my scope is going to continue to broaden.
Q: You served as Pine Tree’s offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach while Kerry Lane was the program’s head football coach. How important will it be to still have him on campus as you prepare for and adjust to an enhanced role?
A: I am definitely going to pester him about it. I can promise you that. But, Kerry has been phenomenal. It’s not only Kerry, but a large part of where I am is due to Kerry. I’m thankful for that. The opportunity to still work for Kerry is something I consider a privilege. It never hurts to have people that have been there and done that, and have done it very successfully that’s an office or phone call away. I’m fortunate to have that.
Q: You got promoted inside Pine Tree’s program. How does the familiarity help with your job transition?
A: I hope it helps a lot. I came here in January of 2017. I’m getting married this summer. This became my life. I got to know these kids, this coaching staff, and this community. I’ve tried to pour into the kids and build relationships. I’ve been here with Kerry and around them for five years. I would like to think that relationship and investment, and getting to know each other would make the transition as smooth as possible.
Q: You won three state championships as a wide receiver at Shreveport, Louisiana’s Evangel Christian Academy in the early 2000’s before a state championship as a receivers coach there in the second half of the decade, and two more as Shreveport Calvary Baptist Academy’s offensive coordinator in the mid-2010’s. What were the biggest factors in those seasons that can help Pine Tree build on and surpass past success during your tenure?
A: I think you learn things at every stop of the way. I was fortunate to be on a championship team, and to grow up in that. The values that were instilled in us, like working hard and discipline. If you go across the country, you’ll see a lot of the same things at successful programs.
Q: What prompted your move to The Lone Star State?
A: Coach [Pat] Collins was the head coach and AD at Longview. When he retired from the state of Texas, he came back to Shreveport and we crossed paths. He had ties over here. When Coach [Jody] Berryhill got the job here [at Pine Tree], he and Coach Collins had been in East Texas. He was able to connect to Kerry [Lane] through that to get me an opportunity to meet Kerry. I ended up getting an opportunity to work for Kerry, and be a part of it over here. That’s how you can say I got to Texas, and the rest is history.
Q: What are the biggest differences in Louisiana and Texas high school football, and what have you enjoyed most about being a part of Texas high school football?
A: High school football, nobody does it like Texas. There’s a reason why people come here and they build cathedrals in East Texas for stadiums. They’ve placed a very high interest on extracurriculars, and football is one of those. To see that and be a part of it, that was obviously something to be admired, and rightfully so. I cut my teeth in Louisiana. I grew up over there. I’m thankful for my time there. I still got a lot of friends, family and coaches that I stay in contact with there. There are some really good coaches and football over there, but I don’t think I have to speak to what the state of Texas football is. I think it speaks for itself. I don’t think there’s anything that compares to it across the country.
Q: Was being a head coach a longtime goal of yours?
A: I don’t know if that’s been the case. I worked with family when I started. My dad [John Bachman Sr.] is a coach, and both my brothers [John Bachman Jr. and Thomas Bachman] are coaches. I’m the youngest brother, so it’s the chain of command thing. Then, I got the opportunity to come here. Did I sit down and decide I’m going to be a head coach one day? No sir, I didn’t. Now, I will say since moving over here [to Pine Tree], it got in the thought process.
Q: I know you’re officially going to start in June, but are your head coaching duties going to start before then? If so, how are you approaching events like signing day, UIL realignment and spring football, and what will your preparation entail over the next couple of months?
A: Pending the board approval on Monday, when that goes in, Kerry has stepped back. ‘Hey man, you’re the head coach.’ I got a to-do list that I’ve never seen before. It’s like drinking out of a fire hose right now. I’m trying to take it one issue and one thing to do at a time. As it goes, I’ll learn more. Kerry still comes down here and I’m thankful for that.
Q: What do you want to get out of this new opportunity and role?
A: I want to have an opportunity to impact kids. Outside of my family, the greatest impact on my life were my coaches and the things they poured into me.
Q: What are your expectations for your upcoming head coaching job at Pine Tree, and how would you like to leave a mark on the program?:
A: We want to use the game of football to impact kids, change their lives, and instill some values in them. I still live by a lot of things I learned in my time as a player. That’s the long-term goal. We want to compete and be competitive. What Kerry has done and created here, I think the bar is set high. We want to continue on that track.