Some folks realize early in life what they are meant to do.
Payne Andrus is one of those people.
“I am a high school coach’s kid,” said the 27-year-old Andrus, who was recently named the new assistant coach of the Weatherford College men’s basketball team. He replaces Chris Lewis, who was promoted to head coach earlier this summer after Mark Osina retired.
Andrus played for his father at Willis High School, graduating in 2013. He earned all-district, all-region and all-county recognition, and earned an NCAA Division I scholarship to play at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
After his freshman year, he transferred to Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, where he finished his career, earning all-conference honors as a senior.
“I have tried to carry over the same competitiveness, work ethic and drive that I had as a player into my coaching career,” Andrus said.
Andrus essentially grew up living in a gym and his dad’s coaching office, watching his dad win a state championship in 2004. During these young years, he realized he wanted to be a part of that world for his career.
“I’ve been a part of coaching staff meetings ever since I can remember. I just saw how really great of a career my dad had as a coach, and how much joy he had when he coached and was able to pour into others’ lives,” he said. “I couldn’t help but want that same type of career. I’ve dreamed of this career throughout my entire life. It’s just really cool to be living out that dream now.”
Andrus came to WC after concluding his second year as a graduate assistant at Sam Houston State University, where he earned his master’s degree and was a part of the coaching staff for the men’s basketball team. He says he was drawn to WC by the leadership and vision of President Tod Allen Farmer, athletic director and Lady Coyotes coach Bob McKinley, and the chance to work with Lewis in furthering the Coyotes’ history of success, calling it “a great opportunity.”
“I think the biggest key to becoming a successful head coach is becoming a great assistant,” Andrus said. “My role is to help and support coach Lewis and his vision for our program. I know he will do great in leading this program to a high level of success, and I look forward to being there to help him and our program in any way that I can.”
Lewis said Andrus brings in the experience of working at the D1 level and the dedication it takes to be successful.
“He’s got a great energy that the guys respond to and feed off of,” he added. “He does a great job of working with the guys individually and expanding their skill sets. I felt he was hungry to prove himself and has the right mindset that I was looking for so we can elevate the program and compete for conference championships.”
Andrus grew up watching his father influence young athletes, working to lead them to successful lives beyond basketball. He wants to follow that same road.
“I think the relationships that are built and the impact that you can have on people’s lives are the most special things about being a coach. For me, I felt that this was a calling,” he said. “I truly believe that this is the career that God has called me into, and it’s where I feel that I can make the biggest impact for Him.
“I’m just extremely grateful for this opportunity to be the assistant men’s basketball coach here at Weatherford College. I can’t wait to be a part of the great things that we accomplish as an institution, an athletic program and a team.”