Coach Jeff Riordan Headed
to Coaching Job in "Lick Skillet"
by: Bobby McDonald
Pending an expected approval by the Crosby School Board of Trustees, on Tuesday night, Coach Jeff Riordan, a six year veteran of the Wildcat Coaching Staff, as offensive coordinator, will be leaving as the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director of the "Cougars." However, Crosby, located in Harris County, outside Houston, was once called "Lick Skillet." Legend has it that the community was first known as "Lick Skillet," back in the 1820's, because the water was so fresh that oxen team drivers had a saying that "the water was so sweet that you'd lick your skillet clean!"
Riordan and his wife, Mandy Shipley Riordan, are longtime members of a coaching family, and will be leaving Sulphur Springs with their two children, Jonah, age 6, and Kendyl, age 4, as they make their new home in Crosby. Riordan will enter the district that many from Sulphur Springs will recognize, District 19-4A, that includes Dayton, that was our State Play-Off rival in 2008, for the State Championship. This year the Crosby Cougars compiled a 5-2-0 record in district play, losing to Vidor in the first round of the play-offs. In 2010, they were the District 19-4A Bi-District Champion in football.
Riordan came to Sulphur Springs, following his own successful athletic career at Austin College, and worked as an assistant coach and later as offensive coordinator at Garland Lakeview Centennial. He joined personal friend and mentor, Greg Owens, when he came to Sulphur Springs. Owens had been on the coaching staff of Riordan's Father-In-Law, Head Coach and Athletic Director, Ben Shipley, in Lindale.
"This is a great, great move for Jeff and I couldn't be happier for him and Mandy, but I sure hate to see him go, as we have a long, long connection of family and friendship," expressed Coach Greg Owens. "I knew the day was going to come, but I just kept hoping that it would be longer and longer, before I had to lose Jeff and Mandy! Of course, we wish them the best of luck and know that the Crosby Cougars are getting one of the best young men and a 'top notch' coach, in Jeff!"
"I couldn't be happier for anyone than I am for Jeff, but I'm just going to miss him and Mandy both, as they make this career move to Crosby," continued Owens. "We'll be making other adjustments in our program to fill this void, by moving Coach Matt Young to the offensive coordinator position, a position he has held previously at Denton Ryan, and then will move Coach Triston Abron into the defensive coordinator position, left open by Young."
"Again, all I can say is that the Crosby Cougars are getting a fine young coach, athletic director, and family, that will be sorely missed here in Sulphur Springs," advised Owens in parting remarks. "He's a great friend, fellow coach, and most of all a fine young Christian father, husband, and mentor for the fortunate program where he will be making his home! Congratulations, Jeff and Mandy!"
Riordan and his family have attended Southside Church of Christ in Sulphur Springs, and are "leaving a hole in the hearts" of that group of people, that have had long association with them, as well. Mandy attended the congregation when she was in elementary school, when her father was on the Wildcat coaching staff, and her grandparents, Dan and Wilma Maddox Shipley, were members of the congregation, back in the 1960's, when they made their home in Sulphur Springs, for a period of approximately four years."Like Coach Owens, we knew it was only a matter of time that Jeff would be offered a head coaching position, with his skills and character, but we kept hoping to keep them here as long as we could," expressed one of the members at Southside. "We sure hate to lose them, but are happy for this new opportunity for the family!"
Riordan will assume the coaching position effective, February 1, 2012.