Passion for coaching drives Maple


John Carl Boudreaux

Coach Clayton Maple congratulates senior defensive back Mason Harris after a big play during the Humble game.

Carlee Hebert, Special Contributor

Clayton Maple, the school’s new head football coach and athletic director, could not be more excited to spend his 20th year of coaching with the Panthers.

Maple previously coached at New Caney Middle School, New Caney High School, Kingwood High School, Huffman High School and Cleveland High School. Maple loves his job and the students he works with.

In high school, Maple had no clue what career path he would choose. Coach Mark Coley, Maple’s high school football coach at New Caney, influenced Maple’s career choice.

“After my senior year, being around those coaches and seeing how much they love the game and all of that, it really inspired me to become a coach,” Maple said.

After he applied for KPARK’s head coaching job last spring, Maple had to undergo a long process of applications and interviews. Competing with many coaches for the job, Maple said he felt thankful and blessed to have been chosen for the job.

“To be offered [the job], it was just really, really exciting,” Maple said.

Working at KPARK meant Maple was closer to home. His family has lived in Kingwood for 19 years.

“The whole family environment that is Kingwood Park is even more special because our family is all part of that as well,” Maple said.

The football team embodies that idea of family and welcomed Maple with open arms.

“We accepted him like family,” senior middle linebacker Dustin Harris said. “He’s a new head coach and we respect that.”

While Maple has not been at the school long, he already describes the school and students positively.

“It’s just a great environment for school and athletics,” Maple said. “Everybody has school spirit, but not to the level of Kingwood Park.”

Meeting the football players for the first time was a special moment for Maple when he arrived last spring. He and the players knew the season ahead would not be easy, but all were ready to work hard and work together.

“It was really exciting to go in there and see them and their excitement,” Maple said.

“Deserve Victory” is a motto that can be found on the team shirts and several football posters. The coaches preach this motto, and the players do their best to fulfill it.

“The motto basically means that anything good in your life that comes your way is a result of hard work and deserving it,” Maple said.

With a new coach, the football program has undergone some changes. There have been new assistants added to the staff. The offense and defense are similar to the past, with only a few changes. The transition, according to Maple, has been smooth and the players continue to adjust and grow.

Maple is proud of the hard work the team has put in throughout their high school career and offseason and is eager to see what his new team will do in district play.

“He’s very energetic and he was ready to go from the start,” senior quarterback Zach Purcell said.

Maple expects his players to not only work hard on the field, but also in other areas of their life. He wants to see his players representing the school with class and character while carrying the KPARK mindset of excellence.

“He tries to teach us that football is more than just a game and the stuff you learn can be taken into life,” senior linebacker Dominic Kelly said.

The team’s biggest struggle is their 1-3 record. The team had tough losses to Magnolia and Huntsville in non-district play and a loss to Humble in district play. However, the team beat Galena Park 62-36 at the homecoming game on Sept. 19.

“You just fight through those struggles, accept them, and make yourself better. Then those struggles become victories,” Maple said.