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Shannon Houser served as Meridian's junior high coach after resigning as LSA boys varsity coach in spring of 2016.

MACON, Ill. (WAND) -- Shannon Houser's relationship with Meridian goes back two decades, both in the junior high ranks and as the JV coach.

Now for the first time he's holding practices as the Hawks' varsity head coach, and he's already making his mark on the roster: conditioning, conditioning, conditioning.

[VIDEO: HOUSER TAKES OVER AT MERIDIAN]

Hauser is emphasizing defense in his first offseason and the team's drills reflect it.

The Hawks (21-11) graduate much of their scoring but do return senior forward Jake Jones, who is also Meridian's starting quarterback.

In this WAND interview, Houser discusses his defensive philosophy plus explains why he coaches.