After more than 30 years as assistant basketball coach at Troy University, David Felix is ready to take on the challenge as head coach of the Freeport Bulldogs.
"Obviously it's a new challenge from what I've been doing," Felix said Wednesday afternoon. "I've been on the road recruiting for 30 something years now, chasing players. That’s the one part that I probably won’t miss. Coaching at the college level was very rewarding, but this is going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it."
Felix a native of Greenwood, Ind., began his career at Troy in 1973 and worked his way on to the starting lineup as a freshman. He went on to become sixth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,469 points, as well as holding the school's record for steals (251) and is second all-time in assists (625).
During the past 31 seasons, he has help guide the Troy Trojans from a Division II power team to a Division I program.
As for Freeport, Felix was one of more than 75 applicants that applied for the head basketball position after long-time Coach David Burke announced his retirement earlier this year.
However, the Emerald Coast and Walton County are not new to Felix.
"We've always come to this area to visit," Felix said. So when Troy's head coach retired, and he got a call from Walton County Coach Hester about the opening at Freeport, he decided to check it out.
"I inquired and it ended up being an area we wanted to come to, because it's a good area for us to retire … and I didn’t want to stop coaching basketball," Felix said. "So it gave me an opportunity to keep doing what I love, and that is coach. And the people at Freeport have been really good, so I'm looking forward to it."
Felix practiced with the Bulldogs the entire month of June.
"We had a good turnout," he said noting he had about 20 boys, more or less. "I had a good time working with them. They are hungry to learn.
"Obviously they weren't very good last year, so there is a lot of work to do," he said. "But they want to be good."
Last year the Freeport Bulldogs finished up 3-22.
"I know the people of Freeport love basketball, so I'm looking forward to working with the players, working with the administration there and the faculty, and the community," he said.
His number one goal at Freeport is to "win games," Felix said. "That's what they are expecting. They think because we've got a college coach we are going to win a state championship."
But there are a lot of good coaches in the area he said, mentioning the coaches at Walton, Paxton and South Walton.
"I'm not a fool enough to think I'm going to out-coach those guys," Felix said. "All we can do is try to out-work them."
He said his current group of kids is “working hard.”
"I wish we had a few kids move in, but you know, you play with what you've got," Felix said. He said there are a couple of students in school that he wishes would come out for basketball, "but that's their decision."
Freeport resident and former Bulldog Jason Burnham will be assisting Felix and coaching the junior varsity.
"He's a good guy and he wants to learn," Felix said.
The Bulldogs tip off in November.
"I just hope we can get back and win some games," Felix said.