Hearne boys basketball coach Andrew Daily is headed home.
A&M Consolidated hired Daily to the same position, Consol head football coach and campus coordinator Lee Fedora confirmed Friday.
Daily played basketball at Consol and later got his coaching start there, serving as an assistant for four years. When the chance arose, coming home to be head coach was too good of an opportunity to pass up, even after leading Hearne to its first UIL state tournament appearance since 1989 last season.
“It’s a great privilege to go back home and have the opportunity to be the head coach,” Daily said. “I’m just happy and thankful at this present time. ... It’s a coach’s dream [to coach at their alma mater].”
Hearne experienced a remarkable turnaround during Daily’s five-year tenure with the program. The Eagles finished with single-digit wins in each of his first two seasons but showed steady improvement, making the playoffs in 2018. Hearne’s rise culminated in its historic run to the state tournament in March, where the Eagles fell to Shelbyville in the Class 2A semifinals and finished the season 25-4.
The decision to leave for Consol wasn’t easy for Daily, who was set to coach a Hearne squad returning most of its core from last year’s team. Daily loved the tight-knit nature of not only his players but of the community. He praised the support from the fan base and valued the relationships he formed with Hearne ISD staff and community members.
“That’s one thing that I’m learning about this profession more and more,” Daily said. “You build relationships and a bond with the community, athletes, coaching staff and, for lack of a better word, become comfortable. Then opportunities cause you to uproot. I’m extremely happy in regards to coming home, but I feel Hearne is my second home. ... No matter what happens [in the future], Hearne will always have a place in my heart.”
Daily takes over for Thirman Dimery, who retired from coaching earlier this month to be closer to his family after the death of his father. Dimery leaves a solid foundation for Daily as the Tigers made the 5A playoffs in each of his three seasons at the helm. Consol made it to the regional quarterfinals in Dimery’s first season, falling to district rival Rudder, bowed out in bi-district in 2018 and reached the area round last season.
“The bar is set for these kids already; they know how to make the playoffs,” Daily said. “Now it’s what do I have to do to keep them with the mindset of striving to make the playoffs and possibly go further than what they have in the past. It takes patience.”
Fedora, who previously worked with Daily when Fedora was the head football coach at Navasota and Daily was an assistant coach on the football and boys basketball teams, saw Daily as a natural choice because of his ability to both push and connect with his players.
“He’s a guy that you can tell he’s got a great relationship with his athletes,” Fedora said. “I think he’s going to fit that role well and come in and build our program up even more. At every school he’s ever been with, you can see the success he’s had.”