Longtime Carencro Golden Bears football statistician Joel Hilbun has seen a lot of great football over the years. From the Bears’ memorable postseason runs in the 2000s to a state title game in 2011, Hilbun has been an integral part of the program’s growth behind the scenes.
With that in mind, let’s get to know the longtime statistician for the Golden Bears.
Question: How did you first get involved with Carencro High School Football?
Answer: I got a grant in 2001 to include video editing in my technology classes, and I married that with my passion for football by getting former CHS coach, Mac Barrouse, to allow me to roam the sidelines with my brand-new, bulky, and totally analog video camera. I made video highlights of the games for about 3 years. It allowed me to build up my video skills for classroom instruction purposes while getting up-close and personal with CroBear football at the same time.
Q: How long have you been the statistician for the Golden Bears?
A: I switched from sideline videographer to statistician in the 2004 season, so that makes this season my 16th one. I’ve done stats for 5 different head coaches. Perhaps the highlight was in 2011 when the Bears played in the 5A championship game in the SuperDome. The LHSAA did their own stats, so Coach Brent Indest got me a sideline pass where I was able to watch the game, without any responsibilities, from a very different angle than what I was used to.
Q: How much have things changed when it comes to getting live stats now for high school football?
A: Sixteen years ago, I would script out the plays on paper and derive the stats from that. Pretty quickly, however, I switched to using a laptop; yet because the software would often crash during the game, I added a student assistant to enter the plays into the software, while I scripted the plays out on paper. I just didn’t trust the program enough, and my paper records helped us recover if the computer gave us trouble. Nowadays, the state of the art in keeping stats includes using tablets with touch screen input, tweeting out plays as an option, statistical data stored in the cloud with a website with a live stat option. While I love to be cutting edge, some of the schools we play in rural areas have spotty Internet connectivity, so I’ve decided to stick with a lesser advanced system that I can rely on.
Q: What is a typical gameday like for you?
A: A few days before the game, I’ll take some time to type in the opponent’s roster. On game day, I usually get to the stadium an hour before game time for home games. For away games, I travel with the team, so I get to enjoy a bumpy, crowded school bus. During the game, I’ve usually had a student spotter and another assistant, but since I retired, I do it solo. I spend the game looking through binoculars since I’ve got to get multiple player numbers, sometimes difficult to do when there is team tackling involved. I’ve got to be very focused on each play and in the moment, so there are times when I’m somewhat uncertain about how the game is going. After I get home (for home games) or on the bus (for away games), I check over the stats and correct any mistakes I find, generate a general stat report for the newspapers and 8 specialized reports for the coaches and get them all emailed off. That takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
Q: You were a teacher at Carencro High for several years, what’s the one thing you miss about the profession?
A: I taught for 38½ years, 29 of them at Carencro High. One thing I don’t miss is getting up at 5:15 every morning; I can guarantee you that that doesn’t happen anymore! I don’t miss having morning and lunch duty, and I don’t miss having 10-15 minutes to gulp down lunch. But I do miss some very dear friends that I developed among my colleagues. Interactions with my students, while at times stressful, were often stimulating. And in my field of technology education, I was always having to learn new things.