By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 21, 2017) — Dublin native and recent Lingleville coach Troy Sparks has left the westernmost school district in Erath County and hit the ground running at the easternmost.
Sparks is taking over the junior high football and track and field programs at Three Way ISD, and leading the effort to build high school athletics from the ground up. Three Way is adding one grade level each year starting with ninth grade when the 2016-17 school year begins in August.
Sparks has immediately bought into the big vision superintendent Paul Ryan has for Three Way.
“What’s great about working with (Ryan) is his passion for the school and the vision he has for its growth,” said Sparks. “I kind of see him as the visionary and then me, at least on my side of things, taking those visions and making them happen.”
Ryan said Sparks has jumped right in, already working on some of the athletic facility needs and preparing for his role academically.
“He’s going to be our Ag teacher and build that program, too,” said Ryan. “I’m proud to have someone of his experience come on board with us because I know he will be a good mentor to our other coaches and to our students.”
That experience includes coaching and teaching stops at Ranger, Highland, Gustine and De Leon before Lingleville. Sparks graduated from Dublin High School in 1981, and earned his degree from Tarleton in 2010.
“He’s excited to build a program here, and even though we’re a couple years from going all out with varsity teams, he wants to create something where there has never been anything before,” Ryan said. “He and I are similar in that.”
Troy’s wife, Kayla Sparks, is also joining Three Way ISD. She will be the new curriculum director under Ryan, who is doubling up as principal for all grade levels.
“I believe in (Ryan) and I believe in Three Way,” Troy Sparks said. “I believe something real special is happening out there and I’m excited to be on board and contributing to that.”
Sparks coached three Lingelville relay teams to the UIL Track & Field State Meet this past spring. The Lady Cardinals were second in all three relays in Region III-A, then finished seventh in the 4×200 meter relay, eighth in the 4×400 and ninth in the 4×100 in the state finals at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Sparks also coached 2017 Lingelville valedictorian Rebekah Proffitt as she advanced to the Texas High School Powerlifting Association Girls Championships.
“I love the kids at Lingleville, they’re great. I hate that we didn’t win more football games, but we were very competitive, sometimes against teams that Lingleville wasn’t very competitive with before,” Sparks said. “The toughest thing about it all is leaving those girls in track and powerlifting. They have had a tough stretch in basketball and volleyball, but I know they will get better because I know how hard those girls work.”
The Three Way Braves have games scheduled for junior high sports this coming year, largely against area schools such as Bluff Dale and Morgan Mill and against independent power Stephenville FAITH. As for high school, all ninth grade student-athletes this year and ninth and tenth graders next year will compete with the FAITH program.
“I hate that we don’t have a full team here, but I’m thankful for FAITH and for our kids getting to compete with them for something, Sparks said. “In the mean time, I’m going to mold the kids to me, and then together we’re going to mold a program we can all be proud of.”