Hoopa Warriors name new football coach

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By Ray Hamill — After more than a decade coaching youth and JV football in the Hoopa Valley, Floyd Billings is finally getting the opportunity to be head coach of the Warriors varsity team.

Billings was officially unveiled as the school’s new head coach this week and says he is excited about the opportunity.

“I’m pretty stoked after all these years,” he said.

Billings, who served as JV coach with the great Marty Wilkes Hoopa teams of a decade ago, was still JV coach as recently as two seasons ago, before stepping back down to youth football for the 2019 season.

And that familiarity with the young Hoopa players will benefit the Warriors, as they hope for a return to action in the coming weeks.

“He’s been a part of the community for years,” Valdez said of the new hire. “He’s coached at the Pop Warner level and at all levels. He knows the players well.”

Billings came prepared for the opportunity and impressed Valdez during the interview process.

“He really had a game plan on how to get these kids to really start playing Hoopa football,” the AD said. “And we felt that he’s been a valuable asset to the community and really knows the community. We thought he would be just a great fit.”

Billings is in the process of finalizing his staff and is hopeful the Warriors will get to play this year despite the ongoing pandemic.

“Even if we just play our league games, that would be fine,” the new coach said. “Just to get it in.”

Billings said he will be reaching out to the players now that the hire has been made official, and added that he has seen many of them working out on their own over the past several months.

“They’re staying in shape,” he said.

As for what Hoopa Valley fans can expect to see out of the Warriors under the new coach?

“We’re going to have a balanced offense,” said Billings, who has coached offense and defense equally over the years. “We’re going to be running backs friendly and kind of have a run and shoot (offense).”

Billings is hoping to have Larry Tracy as his starting quarterback after working with him two seasons ago.

“He played for me at the JV level and at Pop Warner,” the coach said. “He knows what I expect.”

Valdez says he’s excited about the new hire.

“He does a really good job connecting with the kids,” the AD said of the new coach.

Billings also has coached the Hoopa High girls varsity basketball team.

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