H.M. King High School has officially hired three new head coaches for the athletic staff this week.
Kingsville Independent School District Athletic Director Mike Davila confirmed in an interview Monday that he has now filled the head coaching positions for the high school softball, high school girl’s soccer and high school boy’s basketball programs.
Davila named Korey Hardeman as the head basketball coach shortly after the KISD Board of Trustees approved the hire of Hardeman as a special education teacher at HMK.
“(Hardeman) will also be the (Memorial) middle school football coach,” Davila said. “We’re excited about Coach Hardeman coming over. He’s got a wealth of knowledge, great experience and he’s been to the regional tournament under two coaches in Corpus Christi. I did my homework on him and there wasn’t a person around the basketball community from South Texas that had anything negative to say about him.”
Davila said Hardeman was “ready to go” after their initial meeting, and is already preparing to continue the success the program has had the past few years.
“As everybody knows, that was the one of the most successful programs at our athletic program last year, so we’re looking for big things from (Hardeman) and continuing that tradition that was started a year ago.”
Hardeman has been an assistant basketball coach at Incarnate Word Academy, Roy Miller High School, Flour Bluff High School and most recently, Carroll High School in Corpus Christi.
In an interview on Tuesday, Hardeman said he was “extremely thankful and appreciative” to have been given the position.
“I’ve worked hard, worked for some great coaches and been a part of some great programs,” Hardeman said. “All that experience has provided me this wonderful opportunity.”
Hardeman said he is looking forward to meeting his athletes and expects little difficulty with his new role and teaching the athletes a new system.
“Kingsville can expect a high IQ basketball team always ready for every opponent we match up against,” Hardeman said. “I don’t look at this job as a challenge, but if I have to list something (difficult) it would be the timing of my hire. Introductions between the boys and myself will have to happen fast, but there’s no doubt that we’ll hit it off.”
Also being added to the coaching staff is new softball coach Constance Brandenburg.
A 2010 graduate of HMK, Brandenburg received a scholarship to play division one softball at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Brandenburg moved on to be an assistant coach in Bishop after college, before earning her first shot as a head coach at Taft High School in 2018.
Two seasons later, she is returning home to Kingsville.
“I feel like she’s a great addition,” Davila said. “Her coaching duties also include being an assistant for volleyball. I just think she’s going to bring the tradition back to Kingsville. I think the girls will have a great mentor with all the softball knowledge she’s accumulated in her playing career not only in Kingsville, but at Division 1 as well. So, she’s going to be a great leader. I’m looking for big things in that softball program.”
In a recent interview, Brandenburg said she became a coach after finishing college because she “could not see my life or future career without softball” and discovered she had more passion for the sport as a coach than as a player.
“To feel the sport at a different level, to change lives, and to help girls grow and improve not only in softball but also in life after softball, is so rewarding and amazing to me,” Brandenburg said. “After two years in Taft, I am now here, and I’m excited. I’m an alumni and I’ve been dying to come back. So, I’m ready to be back here in my hometown and make a difference a little at time.”
Brandenburg said she is looking forward to working with a lot of the players from last season, and the transition to her coaching system should be smooth for both old and new faces.
“I think them knowing that I have a deep passion for the sport and knowing that I’m from here, I think that it will help motivate them,” Brandenburg said. “All my commitment and dedication is to them, so I think once they see that I’m all in 100-percent from day one, I think that that’s where the trust starts to build, and they’ll buy into the process a little at a time.
“I think of the new year as a clean slate. Of course, there are some girls who are going to be at a higher level than others. But I’m not the type that believes in favoritism. I believe you have to earn your playtime and that’s in practice, that’s in workouts, that’s in everything that we do. So, I would assure (athletes) that it’s a clean slate, it’s a new year, and you really don’t know what potential you can reach unless you try.”
The third coach hired was Victoria Longoria as the head coach of the girls soccer program.
Longoria is a graduate of the HMK class of 2008, and will be a head coach for the first time in her career, and will also be the first female coach in the program’s history.
“Longoria brings a lot of energy and passion as an ex player of HMK,” Davila said. “You know, (she’s) gone through the grind of being a Brahma and she knows what the expectations are here at Brahma nation, and we want to make sure that you know that the girls have that great leadership, but they start a tradition and then continue it.”
Longoria played soccer and lettered all four years in high school while playing under coach Rene Venecia, and went on to graduate from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2014.
In a recent a interview, Longoria said her experience as a Brahma will help guide her coaching style and allow her to make small changes to build on the success the program already has, in her first season as coach.
“We can expect change, but in a good way, in a positive way, for the girls,” Longoria said. “I don’t have the goal coming in thinking of wiping the slate clean; I want to build and continue the fantastic program that I know that they already have. I want to make it stronger, and continue on with their winning tradition that I know they had.
“I have high but very good expectations for my girls and I hope that when they hear, ‘Oh, she’s going to be coaching’ that they hold those same expectations for me, because I’m excited, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Longoria said she understands last year’s playoff team lost a “handful of girls,” so replacing them may be tough, but she is up to filling the missing pieces to the puzzle to keep the program on track.
“If I’m apprehensive about anything, that’s what it is,” Longoria said. “I know we lost at least five to six players who played regularly and that’s always tough to make up for because that’s half your team on the field. But my goal is to maintain the strong tradition of winning the girls soccer program has had for the past 20 years. I want people to be nervous when they see that they’re playing Kingsville girls soccer because I want them to know that we’re going to give them a run for their money every game.”