St. Pius X High School’s athletic facilities are getting a much-needed upgrade, and a new head football coach will be among the first to break them in.
Since the end of May, crews have been hard at work overhauling the school’s grass field at Kubiak Stadium, shifting mounds of dirt around that will eventually give way to new artificial turf and amenities by the time next season begins. The Panthers also will have a new coach in Greg Cranfill, who was hired in April.
“Knowing we’re a community that’s landlocked, we only have so much space around us, and so many sports use the same field that it was getting a lot of wear and tear,” St. Pius X Advancement Director Monica Clem said. “We knew we needed to put turf on there for our students.”
The roughly $2.2 million project includes artificial turf with alternative cooling infill material and additional underground detention for future building as well as lighting upgrades and relocation. It is part of the school’s comprehensive five-year plan for upgrading athletic facilities, which was developed in 2018 according to Clem, and part of the 10- to 15-year outlook for the school overall.
Clem said the St. Pius X High School Foundation provided a grant that allowed the private school to kick start the project, while fundraisers and deferred maintenance costs will cover the rest of the work. With multiple sports such as football, boys and girls soccer, lacrosse and rugby all utilizing the field, Clem said the upgrade was necessary to keep up with that demand.
“We want our current students to have a wonderful field to play on,” she said. “That’s really our only field, so to be able to have all those students on a field that is well-kept up gives them the confidence to go out there and play their best game.”
The school hopes to have its new turf ready for the football team’s Sept. 25 home opener against Concordia Lutheran. And leading the Panthers onto that new turf will be a new head man.
On April 23, the Panthers announced that Cranfill had been hired as the school’s newest football coach. He will be the program’s third head coach in three seasons, following Erik DeHaven in 2018 and Billy Noonan last season.
Cranfill takes over a program that sputtered to a 2-9 mark in 2019, snapping its streak of seven consecutive winning seasons.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what coach Cranfill brings to the program,” SPX Athletic Director Jeff Feller said in a news release. “He is a gifted, hardworking, and dedicated coach; I am certain he will be a great addition to our coaching staff.”
Cranfill has spent the last six seasons at Wills Point High School in the Dallas area, where he accumulated a 32-33 record while leading the Tigers to five playoff appearances. He was named Wills Point ISD’s Football Coach of the Year on three occasions.
Cranfill was previously the head coach at Itasca High School outside Fort Worth from 2004-06, when he went 19-13 in three seasons. Additionally, he had previous coaching stops at Flower Mound Marcus, Hillsboro, Commerce and Van Vleck.