By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – When B.J. William Gotte envisioned his first day on the job as a head football coach it didn’t involve driving to an elementary school.
Gotte, who will officially start February 1 as the first ever Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach of Katy Paetow High School, will begin the process of building a football program from the ground up and oversee the hiring of head coaches for other programs in a converted art room at Bethke Elementary School until their new home is complete.
“There are a load of challenges but that’s what I think makes it exciting,” Gotte said. “We don’t have anything right now. Our building is a shell, they’re not even done constructing it. I think my first day on the job will be two weeks from now and I’m going to be in the elementary school.”
The coaching career of Gotte has taken him all over since starting in 2001 at Katy as a student teacher. Gotte coached at Deer Park, La Marque and Flower Mound Marcus prior to returning to Katy in 2009.
For the past four seasons, Gotte coached running backs and tight ends, while also serving as Katy’s offensive coordinator.
“Those men shaped me into the person and the professional that I am today,” Gotte said. “There are going to be a lot of things that carry over from Katy to Paetow. But obviously you can’t plug and play what we did at Katy over there.
“We’re going to try and take as many of the concepts, values and philosophies that we had there but at the same time it took those men decades to create what they had. We’re going to create new traditions, going to create some special things at Katy Paetow. I’m excited about it.”
Paetow High School officially opens its doors in August, but the football program will start with just a sub-varsity schedule before playing its first varsity schedule in 2018.
For individual sports, such as tennis and golf, those programs will be temporarily placed into a district for competition next season, while the sub-varsity team sports won’t be placed into a district until UIL realignment.
Currently they are building the sub-varsity schedules for next fall, Gotte said comparing it to how Notre Dame builds their football schedule, where it is built independently.
Unlike most jobs, there is no current coaching staff for Gotte to evaluate, instead he gets to hand pick his first staff.
“You have to find coaches that are in it for the right reasons,” Gotte said. “In it for kids, trying to help develop kids into young men and women. In football specifically, I want guys that are passionate about what they do.
“I want guys that want to develop relationships with kids, I want guys that are workers that are loyal, that will roll their sleeves up and go to work.”
Another part of building the program is building the brand.
Paetow will be the Panthers with a Carolina blue and black color scheme, with grey and white as accent colors, Gotte said and they are still in the design stage of the logo.
“Those are the perks of the job,” he said. “It’s going to be neat to get to sit down and figure out what our helmets are going to look like, what our uniforms are going to look like. I really believe in today’s day and age with the kids we have and the culture we have it’s important we create a brand.”
Getting to build a athletics program in a community in which he grew up in, Gotte said is a blessing and hopes one day they will find the success to build a recognizable brand.
Bringing the program to that point though begins with building relationships with the current freshmen and eighth graders who will be foundation of the Paetow Panthers athletic programs.
“It’s exciting. We’re going to have to teach them everything,” Gotte said. “How to compete, how to handle success, how to handle setbacks, how to do everything. Cannot assume anything and when you’re starting something like this, I’ve never done it before I can imagine it’s going to be huge challenge. But it’s the challenge that makes it special and unique, so I’m excited about getting started.”