The former professional quarterback and current head football coach at Waxahachie High School will join former NFL offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, former NFL All-Pro and Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker and Major Applewhite and Leroy Burrell, the current University of Houston head football and track coaches.
"We alone have the responsibility to shape our own lives. When we understand this, we know that nothing and no one can deny us," THSCA Executive Director D.W. Rutledge said. "We are the ones pushing ourselves forward or holding ourselves back. The power to succeed or fail is ours alone. This year at the coaching school, [the individual] takes the responsibility of an advantage to make him or herself a better coach."
New Baylor University and University of Texas Head Football Coaches Matt Rhule and Tom Herman, as well as Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Pastor Tony Evans and Rice University Head Volleyball Coach Genny Volpe, will help impress the importance of the THSCA's initiative during the 85th anniversary of the event.
There will also be collegiate and high school coaches from the sports of baseball, basketball, golf, softball, soccer, volleyball and wrestling speaking during one of the three days.
Kitna, though, is the only coach from Ellis County speaking at the event. His previous experience, too, may make him a hidden gem of knowledge to the up-and-coming and grizzly veteran coach alike.
Kitna accepted the head coaching position in Waxahachie in 2015 after coaching three years at his alma mater, Lincoln High School (WA.). During his tenure in kelly green and white, Kitna has worked to build cohesion through four very strict principles: Rejecting passivity, Empathizing with others, Accepting responsibility and Leading courageously.
Those principals paid dividends at Lincoln, where students earned the second highest algebra score of any class at the end of the 2014 school year. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in the same year, he said difference-makers emerge from the football field to the hallways when you build boys into men the right way.
Some of those students came from poor to below middle-class households and ones lacking a father's presence. Kitna made it his charge to step in and be that man for children he'd never known.
"You want an inroad with people? Start serving," he said. "It’s what Jesus did. You want to deepen your relationship with Christ? Start serving. You want to make a difference in somebody else’s life? Start serving. And then once you do that, you get to start seeing God at work, ‘cause God’s serving. A real man rejects passivity, empathizes with others, accepts responsibility and leads courageously. A real man can only be a real man if he surrounds himself with other real men. Because if not, at some point he’ll compromise in and of himself."
That drive to make students in Waxahachie successful outside of the classroom — less than in it — has helped numerous students achieve collegiate level status and enter DI, DII, DIII institutions as well as junior and community college attendance lists. He will try to extend that message in less than a month during the "Urban Alternative Character Development Sessions" portion of the convention.
It is the third consecutive year the UACDS has been a part of the Head Coaching Academy Workshop.
The series is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 23 at the Hiltons Americas and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on July 24 and 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 25 at the George Brown Convention Center. The meetings will focus on teaching athletic administrators about character program development, school law and the hiring process. Those in attendance will receive PDC credit hours and certificates.
Kitna will address "Capturing the Heart of Your Players" during the final day of the series.
Marcus S. Marion, @MarcusMarionWNI