By Cierra Putman
PECOS - Football season is months away, but pigskin is already on the brain at Pecos High School.
The head football coach has his job back, so he'll be back on the turf next school year.
His re-assignment in February sparked controversy and student protests, but Chris Henson talked to NewsWest 9 about his return to the game, and Eagle football players are glad their coach will be calling the plays next year.
"That's great news," Isaiah Natividad said. "If he wouldn't have been reinstated, I probably wouldn't play this year or years afterwards."
"(I'm) very excited about it," Coach Henson said. "We feel like we're at that point to have a huge season."
Three months ago, former Superintendent Santos Lujan reassigned Coach Henson and the decision divided the community.
The backlash helped push Lujan to resign in March.
After he left, his decision was reviewed and last week Henson was reinstated.
"I feel like by observing what Coach Henson is doing and talking with him about what I think he can do to improve I think will make him a better coach," Interim Superintendent, Maxie Watts said. "And I think he certainly has the basics of being a good coach to start with. I won't tell you that a year from now we won't go in a different direction but if we do it's going to be based on an evaluation of what he's doing and not just someone saying we need to reassign him."
Next season in the bleachers Pecos fans will once again see Coach Henson on the sidelines, but with controversy surrounding his original reassignment both the coach and the district say he's going to have to continue to prove that he's the best man for the job.
"There's going to be some hurt feelings no matter which way it goes," Pam Hoyt said. "I feel that he needs to be given a chance and give a fair shake, and if he can do alright this year keep him on. If not, go about it the right way and have him be a part of finding a replacement."
Henson says he's bringing his game face.
"We're here to prove this is the right decision and to carry on what we've been doing," he said. "I feel like we brought a good program in academics, character and getting the kids on the right track. You know we're all about winning football games and volleyball games but we're not going to sacrifice our character and academics to go do that."
They hope that and teaming up with the community will help heal the wounds from this year.