New faces on Hackley’s coaching staff

By Jordan Miller and Annabel Ives

The Hilltop welcomed two new coaches for this fall season, bringing new coaching strategies to their respective teams. Darnell Davis and Leila Braun are working with the football and cross country teams.

Darnell Davis is the new football coach this year, and he has returned to the Hilltop after graduating 7 years ago. Davis started playing football in 7th grade at Hackley and “loved it”. He played running back and safety for four years for “the legendary Coach Pick”, then moved on to play college football at Muhlenberg College. Now, as a 25-year-old, he decided to return to “[his] roots, which are football”. He has been welcomed back with open arms, especially from the teachers that taught him. Davis, though young, has already gained the respect and trust of his colleagues, which allows him to use the drills and training that he learned in college to “fine tune [the football player’s] technique.”

Leila Braun is the new assistant cross country coach as well as seventh and ninth grade English teacher. She is transitioning from Culber Academy in Indiana, where she also coached cross country. Though she did not run in college, as she was a NCAA level fencer, and she has great knowledge of cross country. Braun feels that preseason is important because of the difficult double conditioning sessions as well as the team bonding it provides. This ensures the team is prepared for the season ahead. She is encouraged by the level of experience many of the runners have along with the strong leadership of the senior runners. On cross country, Braun says “You need to fall in love with the process. It’s not about the results, it’s what you put into it”