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Bachtel tabbed as new Yellow Jacket head football coach

Special to the Bulletin
Jason Bachtel is Howard Payne University's new head football coach.

Howard Payne University named 2003 alumnus Jason Bachtel as the next Yellow Jacket head football coach. The announcement was made Thursday by Hunter Sims, director of athletics.

Bachtel will be formally introduced as the new head football coach at a press conference on Friday, January 8, 2021, at 10 a.m. in the Bullion Suites of the Mabee University Center on the Howard Payne University campus.

"We believe Coach Bachtel embodies the perfect fit at HPU to lead the football program," said Sims. "He is a proven winner. We are ecstatic about the future of the Yellow Jacket football program as we welcome him back to HPU."

Bachtel comes to Howard Payne with both high school and college coaching experience. Bachtel spent the 2020 season as the offensive coordinator at Argyle High School, helping guide the team to the 4A Division I State Championship. He previously led one of the top NCAA Division III offenses at East Texas Baptist University for two seasons.

"I am thrilled to welcome Coach Bachtel back to his alma mater, and for Tara and their children to join Jason as members of the HPU Family," said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU president. "On top of his strong track record of success, both in Texas high school football and in NCAA Division III football, Coach Bachtel's commitment to being Kingdom-minded, service-oriented and excellence-driven in every aspect will be of great benefit to the Yellow Jacket football team, the HPU Department of Athletics and Howard Payne University as a whole."

Along with all of his teams' accolades on the field, he has also guided his players to strive in the classroom, with several named Academic All-State at the high school level and sixteen offensive players named Academic All-Conference in his two seasons at the college level. He has been actively involved with Coaches Outreach Ministries at the institutions where he has previously served.

"I would like to thank Dr. Hines and Hunter Sims for the opportunity to lead and guide a program that I hold very dear to my heart," said Bachtel. "As a former Yellow Jacket football player, I have always aspired to this role and wanted to lead this team."

As a student-athlete in the American Southwest Conference, Bachtel was a three-year letterman at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets. In those three seasons, HPU won nineteen games and the Yellow Jackets finished his senior year at 8-2 overall.

With a 16-0 final record in 2020 at Argyle High School, his offense averaged 48.1 points per game and 444.1 total yards per game (223.3 passing, 220.8 rushing), with a 66.0 pass completion percentage.

Argyle never trailed at any point during the season and outscored opponents by 521 points over 16 games with a 32.5 point margin of victory per game.

Before coaching at Argyle, Bachtel spent two seasons (2018 and 2019) as the offensive coordinator at East Texas Baptist University. There, he directed one of the most explosive offenses in NCAA Division III football.

In two seasons at ETBU, the team averaged nearly 500 total yards per game and 36.9 points per game. ETBU's offense recorded over 600 yards of total offense three times in the 2018 season. His passing offense of 300.6 yards per game led the American Southwest Conference that year.

In 2019, Bachtel was one of only ten college coaches named to Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine 40 Under 40 list.

He came to ETBU in June 2018 from North Forney High School, where he spent fourteen years working with offenses as quarterbacks coach, running backs coach and offensive coordinator.

In his final year at North Forney, the offense averaged 53 points per game and finished 10-3 overall on the year, making a run into the playoffs. He spent six years as the head coach and athletic director at Scurry-Rosser High School where he was the 2013 District 6 Coach of the Year, having guided his team to a 12-1 overall record that season.

Bachtel has also served an assistant coach at Galena Park High School and at Gatesville High School. He started his coaching career as a student assistant at HPU in 2002 coaching running backs. In that year, HPU went 9-1 and finished ranked #17 in the American Football Coaches Association national poll and #10 in the Football Gazette poll.

Graduating from Howard Payne in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in history, he completed a Master of Education degree in educational administration at Lamar University in 2018. He has been married to Tara for nineteen years and the couple has four children: Talen, Bailee, Brooklyn and Blaire.

"My wife and I are excited to be back home," Bachtel said. "We look forward to the future of Howard Payne University and seeing how we can play a small but important role in the lives of the student-athletes at Howard Payne."

In accordance with the University's COVID-19 protocols, attendance at tomorrow's press conference will be limited to members of the press and select University staff. A livestream of the press conference will be broadcast beginning at 10 a.m. on the HPU Department of Athletics website at: www.hpusports.com/watch