courtesy of California R-1 School District

New Coach for Bears Football

Travis Payne will helm the Willow Springs Bears football team for the 2022 season, announced the R-IV School District. Payne fills the place recently vacated by alumnus head coach Joel Wyatt. 
Originally from El Dorado Springs, Payne is currently teaching and assistant coaching in California, MO. This will be his first position as a head coach. He played high school football at El Dorado Springs and at Benedictine College. 
His interest in Willow Springs stems from a desire to return to Southwest Missouri and to the Springfield area, Payne told Howell County News. 
Coming out of an 8-2 season, Payne said the challenge of coaching a struggling team is the reason why he has access to this opportunity. 
“You never get to come in and be a head coach with a big winning team,” he said in an interview. “You’ve always gotta come in and build. You put in the hard work to build it right.”
Coach Payne said his plan is to reintroduce fun and excitement for the football program. “Fun will bring winning,” he said.
His idea is that a strong football team will ultimately build a strong community. 
“We want to build back the strong football community. We’re going to build it the right way: by building character. Great kids make great football players. Great men make the community better. We can build the community through great football,” he told the News.
Payne will relocate to the Willow Springs area with his wife, Jennifer Payne, and their two young children. He will be the weight room teacher in addition to the head coach, and Jennifer will teach keyboarding at Willow Springs.
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Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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