Cody Farrell was hired about a month ago as Hallsville’s new athletic director. Almost immediately though, everyone was forced to socially distance themselves in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, making it harder for Farrell and others in his position.

“They were still in school when I took over and I got to meet a couple people for about a week,” Farrell recalls. “I came down here and that’s when all this stuff hit when I got here full time.”

His first order of business as the new AD was hiring Tommy Allison as the next head football coach.

“Everything we’re doing is by phone and video conference,” he said. “I’ve got some experience in recruiting because I coached about 10 years in college football and I told the coach I just hired, it’s kind of like that, just get your rosters and start making phone calls and start building relationships over the phone.

“I know you can’t see them and can’t work them out and all that so that’s what it’s been – phone call after phone call after phone call. That and video conferences, that’s all we can do.”

Like other coaches, Farrell and his staff are using technology to try to help keep the kids in shape.

“The UIL is allowing us to meet with our kids,” he said. “They’ve set a total number of hours that we can meet with them video chat and conferencing, so my coaches are doing that.

“We can give them workouts and encourage them to do things as long as they’re not doing things together and obviously not coming to the school or doing group workouts. So my coaches are doing that and trying to find unique ways where kids who don’t have workout equipment at home can still workout and stay in shape.

“I’m also encouraging them to put out leadership messages, character-building messages, team-building, that kind of stuff,” he continued. “Some of my old-school coaches have to learn technology, but it’s been a good thing.”

Despite the obvious problems that have come with the coronavirus, Farrell said the school administration has been supportive.

“My superintendant and my assistant superintendant and the school board, this is a time when you have to think outside the box and do things different, so they 100 percent understand the problems this presents and they’re patient with it,” he added.

“They’re helping us in whatever way they can. They’ve been very supportive during this time.”

Farrell, a 1997 graduate of Hallsville, is glad to be back coaching his alma mater.

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “When I was the defensive coordinator here, I loved the head coach I worked for but one of my goals was to be the AD here. That was my goal when I originally took the defensive coordinators job eight years ago. I didn’t want to do it at the expense of the guys I was working for but it was a blessing.

“It feels like home. My wife has roots and has gotten established here. She went to college at LeTourneau was teaching at Longview High School. Of course, I’ve got family here with a lot of nieces and nephews so my 2-year old is going to fit right in. My sister runs a daycare here. Man, the amount of support on the personal side of it is amazing.”