AUSTIN (KXAN) - In his first year as head football coach and athletic director at Reagan High School, Keith Carey is inspiring change.
"I'm just doing what I feel is right," Carey said. "When I first got here I told our kids- there's a story out there about you- and it's all a lie and what I told them is we're going to start to write our own story here at Reagan so people can see the truth about who you are."
It's a promise he's kept, as players say they are learning more about football and life.
"The most important thing Coach Carey taught me is how to be a man," said William Covington, who transferred back to Reagan from Manor High School to be part of Carey's rebuilding of the Raiders' football team. "Everybody wants to be a part of that same spirit and we all have that same spirit around here."
When Carey arrived at Reagan, he immediately reached out to alumni, who are now coming to games and practices and donating money. A big surprise for the players this year were new shoes for game nights. Inside are the words, "Not Without Honor."
"You don't talk about football all the time," said Carey. "You make sure you talk about football, but you also talk about how does that interact with what's going on in their life. It starts with grades, it starts with character, it starts with brotherhood and those kinds of things and so whether its Reagan High School or the number one high school in the country. We've got to focus on those things. Football is just the conduit through which we're training these kids to be successful in life."
Reagan was once a football powerhouse, with state titles in the late 1960s and a team to contend with all the way to the 1990s. But students began to struggle with drugs, gangs, and academics and many students who wanted to play football often transferred to other schools.
Carey is changing those things on the field and in the hallways.
"If you haven't been here lately, you need to come on campus and you need to see these kids. You're going to get the door held for you, you're going to hear, 'Yes, sir, no sir,' and what you're going to see is a great group of kids," he said.
Senior offensive and defensive lineman Jarred Jones said Carey has inspired teamwork.
"We keep each other motivated and we keep each other together on the field as well as off the field," said Jones. "I'll never forget this year- ever."
This year's Raider team has been featured in Sports Illustrated's online "Underdog" series, which tells inspiring stories in High School football.
Last year, the Raiders went 0-10 and have yet to win a game this season. The goal, according to Casey, is to get at least one win this season.
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