Ryan Pannell is a new addition this year to the coaching staff at Dumas High School. However, he is not a stranger to Dumas. He was here for a short time in 2016 for his first coaching position. Pannell said he hopes to build on what he learned here and his previous experience should help him do that.
For the previous two years he was at Santo, which is by Weatherford. But, an opportunity opened, which allowed him to return to where he started.
"I was able to get this opportunity to come back to Dumas and couldn't turn that down," he said. "(I) had a feeling for what the community was like, what the school district was like, specifically the athletic department."
He said he liked the community here and what it offers, and he was excited to come back to the Panhandle area and take on this position.
Pannell was hired to fill the role of head baseball coach. He will also serve as the quarterbacks coach.
He did have an opportunity to meet with some students this summer and was impressed with all of them across the various sports.
"These guys understand what hard work is and what it takes, and have been successful before," he said. "(They) had a pretty good year last year."
Pannell stated he is eager and excited to work with the students.
He believes in the administration and the coaches in Dumas, which is something that attracted him to return.
"They made an impression on me from the first conversations we had," he said.
Pannell said the athletic program has been able to to some remarkable things in recent years and wanted to come into that atmosphere of success. He also looks for an athletic department with the ability to share athletes between sports.
"I feel like is vital to an athletic program's success," he said. "… that shows me that other sports are willing to work with you, that students are committed, that they are going to go above and beyond, not only in their sport, but in another sport they play, in the classroom and their extracurriculars."
He will encourage his players to be involved with and support other sports. Pannell believes in unity, and he feels he can bring that to his players and athletes from other sports.
"I feel like I can bring a sense of unity between athletes on the same team … and athletes that play on different sports," he said. "I support every sport that we have here on campus, and I'll be the first personal the basketball game on this night, or watching the volleyball team on this day."
He feels he can lead and develop these young student-athletes through their high school years and build good traits and skills to use after graduation and into adulthood. This is also a similar philosophy of the Dumas athletic department. As coaches, they are to build and train these athletes in their sports, but also develop good characteristics and skills to use in everyday life to be productive members of society.
A specific trait he hopes to carry into this season, including baseball, is selflessness. He said he learned in his previous short stay here in Dumas.
"Building that kind of a team culture, based around selflessness, can really change the dynamic of your team and athletic program and your school," Pannell said. "Every team that I've been fortunate to lead … that's been our number one character trait that we try to develop. I think when you can develop that character trait between a group of young men in a team that it can spread to the school, it can spread to the community and other sports on campus."
As a coach, Pannell employs three goals for any team he has coached. He will bring these in with the intention to build upon a successful program.
The first goal is to be a selfless teammate.
"That 'we over me' is something that I learned here and carried with me through my career. It is the staple of our program."
That mindset has been developed here over the years and continues to be a top priority.
The second goal is to compete for a district championship. He believes is setting higher goals in order to push for those goals and not settling for less. Having a general goal of making the playoffs could set yourself up short.
"If you're putting yourself in a position to win a district title at the end of a season, then you're doing something right and your'e in the right spot," he said.
The third expectation, or goal, he has is for his team to make a long playoff run.
"I feel like if you do number one, if you're a selfless teammate, the other two are going to fall into place," he said. "If you can develop the team culture of selflessness and putting the team before yourself, then you're going to look up in May and you're going to be having a chance to be finishing at that top spot in district."
The rest will follow.
Pannell's previous experience here has come full circle. He buys in what the coaches teach to the student-athletes of DHS and hopes to continue working with the players to accept that coaching philosophy so that they can become better athletes, better people.