Andy Cavalier, son of Pampa’s notable Coach Cavalier, has now taken a huge step up as a coach. In 1987, the Cavalier family moved to Pampa for Dennis Cavalier to take over as Athletic Director/Head Football Coach. Andy graduated from Pampa High School in 1992, after playing football under the direction of his father. After a year of graduating, Cavalier walked on to play football for Texas Tech for a year before transferring to Eastern New Mexico for four years. After graduating college in 1998, Cavalier returned to Pampa to accept his first job. From 1998 to 2003, Andy Cavalier taught and coached at Pampa High School. During the 2002-03 football season Cavalier had decided he wanted to get out of teaching/coaching and would go work for his father-in-law in ranching.
“I thought I would finish out the school year, coaching soccer like I’d been doing,” Cavalier said. “In May of ‘03 was when we lost my father. After that, I felt like it was best to put a bit of space between the loss of losing my dad and having to enter that fieldhouse. The time on the ranch was good for that, good for me and I found my way back into coaching.”
After his time off, Cavalier and Heath Parker went to Tascosa in ‘05 to coach for a year before returning to Pampa to take the head coach position. Cavalier lead the Harvesters as head coach for three years before moving to Eastland, where he’d spend five years. Cavalier has spent the last nine years in Canadian and will enter into his 10th year with Canadian now as their Athletic Coach/Head Football Coach. The Canadian ISD released this statement after it was announced he’d take the reigns.
“Canadian ISD is excited to announce that current Wildcat assistant, Andy Cavalier, has accepted the Athletic Director/Head Football position pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Since being hired by Chris Koetting in 2014, he has served as the defensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coach, and very successful algebra teacher. A proud Pampa native, Coach Cav attended Eastern New Mexico University where he played football and earned a B.S. in Education. Before his arrival in Canadian, he had coaching stops at Pampa, Tascosa, and Eastland. Coach Cav has 24 total years of experience in education as a math teacher and coach. His wife, Wendy, teaches Physical Education at Baker Elementary. The Cavaliers have four children, Casen (class of 2018), McKenna (class of 2020), Camren (junior), and Kylie (freshman). We are confident Coach Cav will carry on the Canadian tradition of excellence. Please help us welcome Andy Cavalier into his new role!”
The Canadian High School Football program has had a tremendous record over the time Cavalier has been there. Canadian has made seven appearances in the state title football games, the most in the Texas panhandle, winning state titles in 2014, 2015, and 2020. A program that Cavalier worked on under the direction of Chris Koetting, now the pressure is on to see how he can handle the program.
“We came to Canadian nine years ago, and my wife and I have talked numerous times about how thankful we are for the journey we’ve been on,” Cavalier said. “That journey and path was laid out by God and it landed us here in Canadian. The community and everyone in Canadian are so amazing, we’re blessed. The whole time I’ve been here there has been an amazing coaching staff. As far as coaches go, I’m the newest in terms of tenure, these guys have been doing what they do for many years. Coach Koetting has been an amazing mentor and example for me. There is some uneasiness and nervousness about taking over and maintaining the levels we’ve seen. But it’s about much more than me, I’m going to do my best and allow this group of guys I get to work with to continue doing what they do best. One of the early lessons I learned in Pampa from my dad was, that as coaches our job is to build and develop winners in life. Young men and women that are going to work hard to be successful and be able to face those difficult moments.”
But it takes more than one guy to win the game. The biggest focus is to grow in the losses and to continue going through the highs and the lows.
“Of course, we want to win them all, but you don’t get that every time. We’ve had some good years but that doesn’t mean the bad years don’t come with it,” Cavalier said. “One of the things my dad always told me that all the scoreboard winnings do is prove to the critics that our players are winners. We know that already because of the effort that was put forth and what it takes to be part of a team. What goes on inside an athletic program is a lot of practice for young adults to prepare for what happens in life. What life throws at you, being able to handle that. We want to get great at being great at life.”
Being on the coaching staff for the last nine years has allowed Cavalier to focus on football, but now as an athletic director, he will oversee all sports within Canadian ISD.
“This is an honor to be in this position and I certainly don’t take it lightly,” Cavalier said. “I’m going to work extremely hard to do the best I can for our young people and our coaches. I want our kids to know that we believe in them and coach them in a way that they know that and believe that. We want to give our players everything we can to help them be successful and always work to be better. We’ve been fortunate in Canadian to experience a lot of winning and it’s human nature to relax when things are going well and forget about all the work it took. I want us to settle, and to always be improving and teaching our players to do that.”
After teaching for 24 years, Cavalier will hang that hat up stepping into his 10th year with Canadian. Not a role he is eager to let go of.
“I’ve loved teaching, I’ve enjoyed teaching my whole career,” Cavalier said. “I think that great coaches are great teachers. Finding ways to make things simple and easy, so your team continues to grow and advance. I want to be, and I want our coaching staff to be role models for our young men and women. Always representing ourselves well in stressful situations and using our time with them to leave a positive impact. In my experience as a high school student and athlete, you may forget sometimes the names of people you went to school with or who coached you depending on how they interacted with you. But there are people out there that you remember, you remember how they impacted your life or what tone they chose, or how they made you feel. I want our program to be one that leaves a positive impact on our students for the rest of their lives.”
With a winning format for football over the last few seasons, it asks the question, is there room or need for change? Under new leadership, the idea of change, or fear of change is something that comes with a new leader.
“I hope from the outside it doesn’t appear that we’ve made any changes, we want to continue to grow in the systems we’ve had,” Cavalier said. “Coach Koetting is stepping down and we were able to bring on a former player to replace the space I’ll be leaving. Our coaching staff is staying intact, with the one addition being a product of our program. Every time there’s change, there’s a bit of a different fingerprint, but by and large I just hope we can continue what Coach Koetting lead us to do here.”
For the past football season, Canadian held a record of 12-3 and was knocked out of the semi-finals by one point.
“We’re anxious to get back started on this next season and we believe that love conquers all,” Cavalier said. “In this program, we love each other, our community, our coaches, and our teammates and know that when you love somebody you can do so much more for those people. We’re hoping to get started, take it one game at a time, and see if we can’t get back to where we left off.”
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