SWEENY — After a couple years away, former Columbia boys head basketball coach Robert Cash is back in southern Brazoria County — at rival Sweeny.
Cash led the Roughneck basketball program for five seasons and built a 102-51 overall record with five trips to the playoffs. He follows another former Roughneck, Bulldog football head coach Randy Lynch, south on Highway 36.
“When the Sweeny job opened up — I really enjoyed working with coach Lynch, so I just had to get back here to be a head coach again,” Cash said. “That relationship between the AD and head basketball coach is hard to find sometimes where that trust is there. It is nice to be somewhere where I know the AD and I understand that he wants the basketball program to be good and successful. That was a big push for me to return to the area.”
Rich in tradition, the Bulldogs have fallen on hard times in recent years, missing the postseason for six consecutive seasons. Sweeny finished 10-19 overall and only 2-9 in District 24-4A play under Darren Johnson last season.
“I guess what will help me a bit is that I know the area and I know the district,” Cash said. “Normally when I come into a program, I take it slow in the beginning, but I am preparing really for district play. So it might be ugly before district time, but hopefully by district we will be rolling. We don’t want to get hot early, we want to get hot during district time.”
While away, Cash was an assistant coach at Nacogdoches, helping the Dragons to the playoffs in 2018. Then the following season he headed west, where he was an assistant coach at San Marcos High School.
“I thought I’d step down a bit just for a little while and learn some new things from some veteran coaches,” Cash said. “Now I am back, and hopefully we can turn that program around.”
An offensive-minded coach, Cash picked up some things on the other side while serving under defensive-focused San Marcos head coach Thomas Acker that could help him moving forward.
“This last year helped me to become a well-rounded coach because he was just a great defensive mind,” he said. “At Columbia, we used to score a lot of points basically by trying to outscore everyone. But now, hopefully, I will be able to not only work on the offensive side but on the defensive side of the ball as well. So I am excited what we can do in this first year.”
With the likes of Brazosport, Columbia, La Marque and Bay City in the district, Cash will have his work cut out for him.
“Some of the things I picked up were more man-to-man and just different ways on how to approach different teams,” Cash said. “We were totally undermanned in many of the games at San Marcos, but just by playing defense as tough as we did, we were in every game.”
His new knowledge won’t just be applied to games, but how the Bulldogs practice, Cash said.
“We are going to have some dynamic workouts along with agility workouts, which helps the defensive side of the ball, whether it was jumping rope or defensive slides,” Cash said. “We need to get away from the common things in the weight room and concentrate more on goblet squats and really just concentrate on more explosive workouts. So I am excited to bring that part of the game and see how it all works out.”
In the last six seasons, Sweeny has won only six district games and gone through six head coaches. Cash is hoping to bring some stability to the program.
“I am a firm believer that football players can play basketball,” he said. “Every year I was at Columbia they were good in football, which fed right into the basketball program. I believe it is a cycle, but we need to get those players from football and other sports out to come play for us. I believe we can get back in the playoffs this next season if I can get those players out.”
The UIL’s tentative boys basketball schedule has practices starting Oct. 30 and games Nov. 15.