Varsity Head Coaching Hire Tyler Soukup Ready to Begin New Era of Plano West Football

Soukup comes over from a strong Hebron Hawks program that has seen the playoffs for the past several seasons.


Staff Photo

Coach Tyler Soukup, who was the OC at Hebron this year, was named as Plano West’s Head Coach and Athletic Director on Tuesday night.

Avery Klatsky, Senior Editor

After almost 100 days, the Plano ISD school board found a new head coach for the Plano West football team. The signee was Tyler Soukup, who had served the past six years as an Offensive Coordinator at Hebron High School. During his tenure at Hebron, Soukup made playoff appearances in every season and is looking forward to bringing his insight and football philosophy to the Blue Nation.

“We are trying to establish a tremendous work ethic with our kids and we are trying to improve our level of mental toughness and discipline,” Soukup said. “I think we have made tremendous strides since we started our offseason. A number of things that we do in our offseason are centered around three goals; increasing our workload, making our kids tougher mentally and more disciplined.”

Plano West has spent the past several years in one of the toughest districts in the state, including having competed against powerhouse Allen, Plano East and Prosper in the first year of the new district alignment that was implemented at the start of the 2018 season. Soukup knows that it is a competitive district, but he is optimistic about the challenge.

“We have talked to the guys about trying to overcome the ‘video game’ mindset of this generation in which it is not fun to win, [but] it is fun to win by 50,” Soukup said. “There is nobody on our schedule we are going to beat by 50 and I am not going to schedule anybody that we are capable of beating by 50. We have to embrace the mindset that you do not want to play those games.”

In order to have a successful season, Soukup’s goal is to push the team to play like every snap could be the final play of the game.

“What we need to try to do to is envision being in the game in the 4th quarter and having a chance to win. [Whether that be] being up a score or being down a score, or getting the ball down the score and having to score or giving the ball to the opponent up a touchdown or up a field goal and to hold them and having to force a punt or a turnover-on-downs. Just envisioning winning tight games and that has been the mindset that I have talked to the guys about is getting out of [the milieu] that we are going to beat the tar out of anybody; that is not going to happen. What we are going to try to do is try to get in games in the fourth quarter and be more disciplined than our opponent and let them make some mistakes.”

Soukup has also highlighted the importance of the community and how significant the relationships between West and its feeder schools—Shepton and Jasper, in particular, in addition to the middle schools—and that a connected environment can make all the difference in a school’s football program.

“I am trying to establish a network of bridges between all the campuses,” Soukup said, “both our campus and Jasper and Shepton and then into the four middle schools that feed into those two 9th and 10th grade campuses. We have to establish lines of communication with them, our coaching staff and our kids as well so that we do not have kids walking away. We have got to keep kids at West [in the program].”

The 2019 varsity team will be without several seniors who played on the team this season, including but not limited to running back Noah Scroggins, offensive lineman Michael Balis, and defensive players such as Shemar Pearl, Jared Brumfield and Cooper Adams.

Scroggins was a major aspect to the Wolves’ offense this season, leading the team in rushing yards with 791, and scoring four touchdowns. He also averaged over five yards per carry. Although departing seniors like Scroggins will leave gaps in the depth charts, Soukup has confidence in the younger classes to fill the ranks when next season rolls around.

“I brag on the junior class a lot to a lot of my peers and to our administration here at West,” Soukup said. “Our junior class has responded to my presence here as well as can be expected. I think that they are really really hungry, and they have embraced [the increasing workload, heavier mental toughness, and more discipline] and I think that they are willing to get pushed and prodded and made uncomfortable. I think that they are really excited about the opportunity to be better, and there is going to be some strong leadership that comes out of that group without a doubt.”

That is my ultimate goal—to give kids here a product that they are happy to come be a part of.”

— Tyler Soukup

With the influx of new players and returning juniors, Soukup will have to adjust the style of offense and defense West implements come the start of next season.

“We are not going to fit a square peg into a round hole and say it has got to be ‘this’ way,” Soukup said. “I am anxious for the spring to see the skill set of our kids, and once I know what our kids are capable of, we will start moving the offense in that direction a little bit.”

Soukup’s intellect as Hebron OC will certainly affect how he coaches at Plano West. Under his command as head coach, he will look to spark the team on both sides of the football and mend Plano West’s production, which averaged only 10 points per game and allowed approximately 44.3 points per contest.

“There are a lot of points being scored,” Soukup said. “And I looked at our opponents and recorded their average points given up in their average points scored and everybody we played scored a lot of points and most everybody we played gave up a lot of points and so I am looking at that as very encouraging sign that if we can slow them down a little bit, which I think we can, and we can get a lot better offensively, which I know we are going to, then I think that we got a good chance to compete and get in those fourth-quarter games.”

That said, the new hire knows that some changes need to be made in the culture of the program, but has much anticipation to build a winning, successful program.

“Our team discipline,” Soukup said when asked about something to improve on next season. “Just the simple sake of doing your job is something that is very common around here and 11 guys on the football field have to play each and every snap together. We have to get out of our own way—we have to stop our mistakes and make people beat us instead of beating ourselves.”

With the new change in the coaches office, Soukup is looking forward to the opportunity to return a winning season to West and reinvigorate a successful and vibrant varsity football team.

“That is my ultimate goal,” Soukup said, “to give kids here a product that they are happy to come be a part of.”