With the coronavirus pandemic leading to the closing of HISD and cancellation of games along with all other district athletic programs, what’s is next for high school sports?

HISD winter sports took a hit when the Yates High School boys’ basketball team, which was No. 1 team in Texas for Class 4A, was unable to get a redemption shot at a Texas championship when the UIL cancelled the state tournament due to the coronavirus spread. In addition, the soccer playoffs were canceled.

The Defender spoke with HISD athletic director Andre Walker, who has held the position since 2018, to discuss the issue at hand.

Defender: What are HISD’s plans for the remainder of the year regarding athletics?

Walker: Right now that is an unknown because we don’t know what is going to happen or when we will be able to go back to school or if we will be able to go back to school. So now we are focusing on our plans for next year with the understanding that if we have to pick up the ball and get back in this year we are ready to do that as well.

Defender: How do you think this will impact HISD athletics moving forward?

Walker: Our coaches are going to have to still handle the kids, so, that is an impact in itself because our coaches have so much influence on our athletes. From what they are doing, to what they are eating and the preparation of preparing for spring ball…It is a major impact, but do understand our coaches are calling our kids just to make sure they are doing alright. Because that is the number one deal. “How are the kids doing? How are they managing this?”

Defender: What advice would you give graduating seniors who might miss out on the opportunity to showcase their talents this spring?

Walker: They have to continue to work out and eat right. Our hopes are that they will be able to get back in and the season will be shortened. We hope they can still have those opportunities again. But in the mean time they need to continue to work out and be ready for whatever happens. Just be ready because they won’t have time to get ready this season. So, be prepared for what is next.”

Defender: What advice do you have for the parents of student-athletes?

Walker: Just continue to push them. Make them get up, go out and get their work in whether it is inside or outside in the back or front yard.  While at the same time exercising caution and being socially distant…Parents also want to keep their child mentally focused which is really hard to do, but they need to be mentally focused for whatever happens.

Defender: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Walker: Stay prayerful, be supportive and know that whatever decisions are made are made in the best interests of everybody.”

Follow Jodie Jiles on Instagram @defenderhighschoolsports.