Alumni Spotlight: Drew Svoboda (THS, '95)
DREW SVOBODA, Tomball High School, 1995
University of North Texas Football Associate Head Coach & Special Teams Coordinator
As a young football player, Drew Svoboda was inspired by his coaches. So much so, that the impact his high school coaches had on him made him want to pursue coaching himself.
A 1995 Tomball High School graduate, Svoboda currently serves as the University of North Texas Football Associate Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator, an opportunity that came about following an illustrious coaching career at the Texas high school ranks and a few prominent stops at the collegiate level over the last few years.
Svoboda’s family moved to Tomball following his sophomore year in high school wher he spent his junior year and senior year at THS, lettering in football and track.
“Although I only attended Tomball High School for two years, it was an extremely important time of my life,” he said. “The relationships I made during my time there have had a huge impact on my life. Tomball is where “I am from.”
As a student-athlete in high school, Svoboda remembers the lessons learned and the relationships he established and how that helped pave the way for him as a collegiate athlete and later, coach.
Following high school, he went on to play football at Stephen F. Austin State University where he was a tight end and fullback and two-time Academic All-Southland Conference honoree. He helped lead the Lumberjacks to the 1999 Southland Conference title and then earned a degree in All Level Kinesiology with a minor in Special Education. His education continued when he later earned his Masters of Educational Leadership from Lamar University.
Also, while in college, Svoboda met his wife Kristi, who later taught Art at Tomball Elementary for six years. The couple has been married for 22 years and have two children, daughter Austyn and son Jack.
Svoboda followed his passion into the coaching profession, first at THS as a Resource Math and Volunteer Coach in the spring semester of 2000. After that, he made a stop at Caney Creek High School then joined Klein Collins High School in the Fall of 2001 when only freshmen and sophomores were on that campus. Shortly after that, he spent two years (2005-07) at Oak Ridge High School as an Offensive Line Coach before returning to Klein Collins in 2008 as the Campus Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, a position he held for 10 years.
Svoboda made the jump to collegiate coaching in 2018 after guiding Klein Collins High School to five district championships, eight playoff appearances and a 93-24 record in 10 seasons as head coach of the Tigers. He took over a program that was 1-9 the season prior to his arrival (2008) and two years later led them to a 12-1 mark and a district championship. For his efforts, he earned the first of five Touchdown Club of Houston Coach of the Year finalist awards as well as five District 15 6A Coach of the Year honors and the Houston Texans NFL High School Coach of the Year honor.
Svoboda was also named Dave Campbell's Texas Football Preseason 6A Coach of the Year in 2017 after leading Klein Collins to the state semifinals in 2016. He was also tabbed by VYPE Magazine as its Houston Football Coach of the Year in 2016. Prior to that season, he coached the East Team in the Bayou Bowl High School All-Star game.
“I really enjoyed coaching at the high school level,” he said. “To see the growth from when they first enter high school as a freshman and their personal development along the way as they advance through the program is really awesome. The relationships formed with the student-athletes and the daily mentoring that occurs is really rewarding.”
Because of his successful high school coaching career, Svoboda was offered a position at Rice University, where his collegiate coaching career began. He spent three years with the Owls coaching some of the top student-athletes in all of college athletics.
“The biggest thing I took from my three years at Rice was seeing how the most elite student-athletes in the country apply themselves and master the art of time management,” he said. “These students were exceptional when it came to being able to compartmentalize all of the responsibilities of their lives.”
Following his stint at Rice, he assisted at the University of Memphis during the Spring of 2021 before joining the University of Alabama to assist head coach Nick Saban, coaching tight ends and coordinating special teams for the Crimson Tide.
“Being able to personally witness one of the greatest coaches of all time, Nick Saban, execute “the process” and master the concept of vertical alignment with everyone in the organization is something that I take away from my experience at Alabama,” Svoboda said.
Svoboda will coach his first season this Fall 2023 at the University of North Texas after joining the Mean Green during the football off-season.
“Being able to join Coach Morris’ new staff and be part of building something special is exciting,” Svoboda said. “The role of Associate Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator allows me to touch every player in the program. Forming meaningful relationships and assisting in the development of student-athletes is why I do this. The opportunity to have my family back in the Lone Star State is a huge plus as well.”
Despite having left Tomball to pursue his coaching career over the years, Svoboda does find time to return to his home.
“I always look forward to when I get to return to Tomball while I am on the road recruiting in January and May,” he said. “When visiting both Tomball High and Tomball Memorial, it is very apparent that the District Leadership is doing a great job providing the resources needed to be successful. The head coaches of both of these programs are also doing a great job developing and promoting their student-athletes. The population growth in the area is creating some exciting opportunities for everyone involved in athletic programs at both high schools in TISD.”
As a coach, Svoboda is a long-time accessor of talent and understands the commitment a student-athlete must have in order to be successful. For him, it is all about possessing discipline, being consistent, and having GRIT.
“The best advice I would share for a high school student-athlete wanting to play at the next level is put yourself out there in a position to be able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves no matter how big or small,” he said. “This starts with developing the daily work habits both at home and at school necessary to excel at the next level and propel you in life. Control what you can control, which is your attitude, work ethic, effort, and consistency to wake up everyday with the mindset to develop into a better version of yourself, not somebody else.”
It has become full circle for Svoboda who began his coaching career thanks to the endless support and mentorship he received as a young student-athlete. Now, in 2023 - he has become a well-known winner and coach who finds building relationships and developing the student-athlete the most rewarding part of his job.