That turned out to be figuratively correct.
Gate City alumnus Bill Houseright was named Colobro’s successor in Thursday’s meeting of the Scott County School Board.
“I’m a very blessed person right now,” Houseright said later Thursday night. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to come home and have a chance to work at something that you truly love doing.”
The school board voted 5-0 in favor of Houseright’s hire, with board member Joe Meade abstaining.
“We just felt that he was a good fit for the job for the next two or three years,” said Superintendent Jim Scott, who recommended Houseright to the board.
“Coach Houseright has been in Scott County all his life. He hasn’t coached in the last few years, but we felt with all his years of coaching, he was probably the best fit at this time.”
Scott indicated that Gate City defensive coordinator Darren Reed, who played as a linebacker at Gate City under Houseright, had also been given strong consideration for the position.
Houseright becomes the 11th in a line of Blue Devil football coaches that began with Ernest Quillen at Shoemaker High School in 1931. He is only the fourth head football coach hired at Gate City since 1953.
Harry Fry (229-71-6) had the program from 1953-1958 and from 1960-1982. Colobro (235-78-1) ran the program from 1983 through 2008. Both coaches won two state football championships at Gate City.
“It’s been an ultra-successful program under Harry and under Nick,” said Houseright, who played under Fry and served as a defensive coordinator under Colobro.
“It’s been so stable for so long, anything we can do to try to maintain that stability will be important.”
Houseright, who played as an underclassman on Gate City’s 1970 state championship team, is a former Virginia Tech defensive lineman. After graduating from college, he coached at Lebanon for four years before coming to Gate City, where he served as an assistant coach for a combined 13 years under Fry and Colobro.
Houseright got out of coaching in 1997 in order to undergo long-postponed knee surgery and to focus on obtaining his master’s degree in administration. He took over Rye Cove’s football program in 2000, leading the War Eagles to their first-ever Group A, Division 1 state semifinal appearance. He resigned from the Rye Cove coaching post in 2002.
Houseright’s offspring all gained local fame as athletes at Gate City. Eldest son Billy went on to serve as a graduate assistant coach under Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, while Jake and Jonas both played for the Hokies at linebacker. Jeremy Houseright, now an assistant basketball coach at Rye Cove, was a basketball standout at Virginia-Wise.
Bill Houseright, who is currently assistant principal at Twin Springs High School, had submitted his paperwork for retirement prior to the job opening at Gate City.
Scott noted that Houseright retains the option of retiring, and he’ll likely assume the head coaching position at Gate City on a contract basis.
“What is likely to happen is that we’d let him work by contract at Gate City High School maybe half time,” said Scott.
“We feel that anybody that coaches a varsity sport like football needs to have some time during the day that he can meet with kids and talk with kids. Just to come in after school and coach football would be tough.”