HIDALGO – For the first time next season, the Killer Bees will play without Sean Gillam around.
Gillam on Monday was named the head coach of the SPHL’s Fayetteville (N.C) FireAntz. He said he was tentatively scheduled to interview with consultant Trey Medlock on Tuesday for the Bees’ head coaching job but had already committed to the FireAntz, having accepted their position on Friday.
Last Thursday, when the Bees announced their ownership change, Gillam expressed interest in replacing Chris Brooks. But later in the day he was offered the Fayetteville position and accepted it on Friday.
Medlock confirmed he and Gillam were going to talk about the Bees position, but that the new ownership is looking for somebody with head coaching experience to replace Brooks.
“At the end of the day I want to be a head coach, so you’ve got to go where the opportunities lie,” Gillam said. “I’m not saying there wouldn’t have been an opportunity here but at the same point I wasn’t going to get stagnant and just wait to see what happens here.”
Gillam had been with the Bees for all eight years of their existence. His first three seasons were spent as a defenseman before becoming an assistant coach, initially under Paul Fixter and then Brooks. In 2008, Gillam’s number 7 became the first (and so far only) to be retired in team history.
“Gilly was an instrumental part of the franchise from the beginning,” Medlock said.
During his time with the Bees, Gillam put down roots in the Valley. He made the area his year-round home and both of his sons were born at Rio Grande Regional hospital.
Because of those roots, Gillam said his “emotions are kind of mixed right now” about leaving the area.
“When you’ve been here for so long you create a lot of relationships,” Gillam said. “But I’m also very excited to get the opportunity to go to Fayetteville and become a head coach.”
Of course, for much of the offseason, it looked likely Gillam and his family would have to move if he wanted to continue his coaching career. When Gillam first applied for the FireAntz position in late April, the Bees’ future appeared to be grim.
Still, Gillam said that wasn’t why he was interested in Fayetteville. In previous offseasons he had applied for other head coaching positions, including the Bees’ in 2008.
“Every year you’re always looking for opportunities to advance yourself,” Gillam said. “(In late April) there were only a couple head coaching positions open. I figured that it was a goal of mine to become a head coach so you apply for all the open positions.”
ICING: The Bees are accepting season ticket purchases and renewals. The prices will remain the same from last season. Their office on Monday was also fully open for the first time since closing May 19. … The revised lease agreement between the Bees and the City of Hidalgo has not been formally signed yet, but Medlock is expecting that to be completed soon.
Brian Sandalow covers the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for Valley Freedom Newspapers. You can reach him at (956) 683-4436.