As high schools across Texas change coaches, Greg Tepper takes a look at the immediate impact they can expect.
NOW AVAILABLE, you can download the inaugural DCTF Recruiting Special Edition, available on your iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire through the DCTF App. With rankings, insights and analysis into the 2013 recruiting scene in Texas, it's a must-read for all true football fans! Download the app today!
And don't forget to get your copy of the 2013 Winter Edition of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, available in hard copy through the TexasFootball.com Store or digitally through the DCTF App. It features recaps for every college team in the state, a complete high school recap and more — including a captivating look at Johnny Manziel's unforgettable Heisman season! Get your copy today!
As much as high school football in Texas may resemble the college and pro games, one of the things that is of stark difference are how coaches are managed.
In college football and the NFL, the word “hot seat” may just apply to every coach. It’s a cut-throat world in which success on the field is of paramount importance. Three bad years, and the coach is likely getting the ax…and that’s if he lasts for the entirety of those three years.
In general, that’s not the case in high school football. Remember: these coaches are first and foremost employees of a school district, which usually tend to view success on the football field as a pleasant byproduct as opposed to a stated goal. Furthermore, many of these coaches are the athletic director as well as the football coach, meaning they have overarching administrative duties that tend to make them more valuable. That’s not to say that coaches are never fired because they don’t win on the field, but usually, it’s other factors that cause coaching changes.
Whatever the cause may be, we’re once again in the middle of the coaching carousel portion of the offseason, where high school football coaches across Texas are coming and going and arriving and departing. It happens every year, with hundreds of programs affected by a new coach entering the mix every offseason.
But for those programs who are getting a new head coach entering the 2013 season, what can they expect? Immediate success? A downturn? Somewhere inbetween?
There’s no one answer; every program is different. Cibolo Steele’s new head coach Scott Lehnhoff, who took over for Mike Jinks when he left to become Texas Tech’s running backs coach, is likely to have more success than PSJA’s new coach Steve Marroquin, who takes over for Rich Lucero. That’s because Cibolo Steele has been historically much, much stronger of a program than PSJA. That’s not a knock; it’s just the facts.
But we can look at history as a guide to maybe give us an overarching view of the trend for programs with a new coach. And why go way back in history when we can look at what happened just last year?
For this study, I took the 95 programs in Classes 5A and 4A who changed coaches between the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Then, I compared their 2011 record (before the coaching change) to their 2012 record (after the coaching change), giving us an idea of how the program fared after its change at the helm.
The results were mixed.
|School||Class||Old Coach||New Coach||2011 Record||2012 Record||2011-2012 Change|
|Harlingen South||5A||Gilbert Leal||Lanny Wilson||2-8||9-3||7|
|Naaman Forest||5A||Mark Elam||Sam McElroy||2-8||2-8||6|
|Pasadena Memorial||5A||John Snelson||Chris Quillian||3-8||8-3||5|
|Texas City||4A||Tim Finn||Leland Surovik||4-6||9-3||5|
|Tomball||5A/4A||Tommy Kaiser||Danny Ramsey||2-8||6-6||4|
|Friendswood||4A||Stan Van Meter||Robert Koopmann||4-7||8-3||4|
|Hidalgo||4A/3A||Robin Kirk||Scott Ford||3-7||7-4||4|
|Lakeview Centennial||5A||Don Willis||Kendall Miller||2-8||5-5||3|
|Mission Sharyland||5A||Fred Sanchez||Ron Adame||9-2||12-1||3|
|CC Tuloso Midway||4A||Joe Sendejar||Brian Boone||0-10||3-7||3|
|Cedar Park||4A||Chris Ross||Joe Willis||11-3||14-2||3|
|Cleburne||4A||Phil Young||Jeff Merket||4-6||7-4||3|
|La Joya Juarez-Lincoln||4A/5A||Aaron Garcia||Tommy Garcia||2-8||5-5||3|
|Lucas Lovejoy||4A||Jim Bob Puckett||Matt Green||8-4||11-1||3|
|Humble Atascocita||5A||Dean Colbert||Craig Stump||3-7||5-5||2|
|Irving||5A||Jim Bennett||Aaron De La Torre||1-9||3-7||2|
|Laredo United South||5A||Jose Briones||Sergio Salinas||2-8||4-6||2|
|Austin Reagan||4A||Paul Darby||Keith Carey||0-10||2-7||2|
|Brazosport||4A||Brian Welch||Ben Rudolph||1-9||3-7||2|
|Crosby||4A||Kevin Flanigan||Jeff Riordan||6-5||8-4||2|
|Denton||4A||Randy Patzkowski||Kevin Atkinson||1-9||3-7||2|
|John Tyler||4A||Dereck Rush||Ricklan Holmes||11-4||13-2||2|
|San Elizario||4A||Shawn O'Neal||Juan "Sal" Aguirre||0-10||2-8||2|
|Waco||4A||Danny Ramsey||Marty Herbst||7-4||9-4||2|
|Austin High||5A||L.D. Williams||Mike Rosenthal||2-9||3-7||1|
|Brownsville Hanna||5A||Tom Campos||Rene Medrano||3-7||4-6||1|
|Cy Springs||5A||Roland Gonzalez||Rick Cobia||0-10||1-9||1|
|Keller||5A||Kevin Atkinson||Carl Stralow||2-8||3-7||1|
|North Garland||5A||David Farris||Joe Castillo||0-10||1-9||1|
|South San Antonio||5A||Jeff Smith||Marcus Booker||1-9||2-8||1|
|FW Eastern Hills||4A||Michael Prewitt||Tracy Simien||3-7||4-6||1|
|Houston Northbrook||4A||Ron Rogers||Dave Cope||2-8||3-7||1|
|Waller||4A||Jason Morley||Brad Wright||3-7||4-6||1|
|FB Willowridge||4A||J.C. McDonald||Shaun McDowell||2-8||3-7||1|
|Alvin||5A||Jeff Dungen||Trey Herrmann||4-6||4-6||0|
|Brownsville Rivera||5A||David Cantu||Tom Chavez||2-8||2-8||0|
|Conroe Oak Ridge||5A||Bob Barrett||Dereck Rush||1-9||1-9||0|
|Converse Judson||5A||Jim Rackley||Mark Smith||8-3||8-4||0|
|EP Coronado||5A||Don Brooks||Bob Anderson||4-7||4-6||0|
|Flower Mound||5A||Cody Vanderford||Dane Johnson||3-7||3-7||0|
|La Joya||5A||Ray Trdla||George Espinoza||2-8||2-8||0|
|Laredo Cigarroa||5A/4A||Frank De Hoyos||Jesse Esparza||1-9||1-9||0|
|Lufkin||5A||John Outlaw||Todd Quick||9-2||9-4||0|
|Pasadena Rayburn||5A||Chris Bussey||David Satcher||4-6||4-6||0|
|San Marcos||5A||James Chase||Mark Soto||1-9||1-9||0|
|Tyler Lee||5A||Randy Huffstickler||Darrell Piske||1-9||1-9||0|
|Austin McCallum||4A||Todd Raymond||Jason Cecil||7-4||7-4||0|
|CC Moody||4A||Charlie McMath||Mike Cantu||2-8||2-8||0|
|EP Jefferson||4A||Pete Euzarraga||Jim Clark||2-8||2-8||0|
|Greenville||4A||Chawn Cooper||Marvin Sedberry Sr.||0-10||0-10||0|
|Houston Waltrip||4A||Anthony Zuccarini||Milton Dailey||5-6||5-5||0|
|Jacksonville||4A||Steve Wells||Chris Taber||4-6||4-7||0|
|Marble Falls||4A||Cord Woerner||Todd Dodge||4-6||4-6||0|
|SA Alamo Heights||4A||Don Byrd||Mike Norment||8-4||8-3||0|
|Bryan||5A||Bob Bellard||Ross Rogers||4-6||3-7||-1|
|Dallas Sunset||5A||Dennis McAdams||Armando Gutierrez||1-9||0-10||-1|
|Katy Seven Lakes||5A||Kevin O'Keefe||Lydell Wilson||6-4||5-6||-1|
|Lewisville||5A||Dick Olin||Gregg Miller||2-8||1-9||-1|
|Strake Jesuit||5A||Ron Counter||James Clancy||3-7||2-8||-1|
|Dallas SOC||4A||Kendall Miller||Emmett Jones||10-1||9-2||-1|
|Denison||4A||Cody White||Chad Rogers||3-7||2-8||-1|
|EP Andress||4A||Allan Sepkowitz||Patick Brown||8-4||7-5||-1|
|FW Polytechnic||4A||Othell Robinson||Chris Roberts||3-7||2-8||-1|
|Houston Austin||4A||Pete Gareri, Jr.||Jason Baggett||2-8||1-9||-1|
|Houston King||4A||Lydell Wilson||Don Price||4-6||3-7||-1|
|Nacogdoches||4A||Scott Ford||Bobby Reyes||1-9||0-10||-1|
|SA Burbank||4A||Joe Castillo||Mark Perez||1-9||0-10||-1|
|SA Memorial||4A||Manny Martinez||Alex Guerra||1-9||0-10||-1|
|Uvalde||4A||John Livas||Gary Mac Griffin||4-6||3-8||-1|
|Beaumont West Brook||5A||Craig Stump||Kevin Flanigan||6-5||4-6||-2|
|Dickinson||5A||Warren Trahan||John Snelson||4-6||2-8||-2|
|Houston Bellaire||5A||Trey Herrmann||Trey Sissom||7-4||5-6||-2|
|Kingwood||5A||Dougald McDougald||Barry Campbell||6-5||4-6||-2|
|PSJA||5A||Mel Rios||Rich Lucero||3-7||1-9||-2|
|Richland||5A||Gene Weir||Ged Kates||4-6||2-8||-2|
|Austin LBJ||4A||Demo Odems||Keith Willis||6-4||4-6||-2|
|Humble||4A||Walt Beasley||Charles West||4-6||2-8||-2|
|Terrell||4A||Darrell Jordan||Kevin Wilson||2-8||0-10||-2|
|Bay City||4A||Robert Blackmon||Dan Burk||3-7||0-10||-3|
|EP Ysleta||4A||Tod Clark||Ruben Torres||4-6||1-9||-3|
|Kerrville Tivy||4A||Mark Smith||David Jones||11-3||8-4||-3|
|Austin Anderson||5A||Bill Ramzinsky||Darin Shaw||5-5||1-9||-4|
|Kyle Lehman||4A||Steve Davis||Todd Raymond||6-4||2-8||-4|
|Schertz Clemens||4A||Greg Ferrara||Jared Johnson||4-6||0-10||-4|
|Victoria East||4A||Mickey Finley||Roland Gonzalez||7-5||3-8||-4|
|Cy Woods||5A||David Jones||Trent Faith||9-3||4-6||-5|
|Klein Forest||5A||Ken Hammock||Barry Abercrombie||6-4||1-9||-5|
|Dallas Conrad||4A||Darren Duke||M.T. Tyeskie||6-6||1-9||-5|
|Burleson||4A||Jason Tucker||Gary McElroy||6-5||0-10||-6|
|FW Arlington Heights||4A||Ged Kates||Todd Whitten||9-3||2-8||-7|
|Brownsville Pace||5A||Rene Medrano||William Deen||9-3||1-9||-8|
|FB Hightower||5A||Barry Abercrombie||Padriac McGinnis||13-3||5-5||-8|
|North Forney||4A||James Brown||Lance Gary||10-2||2-8||-8|
|Mansfield Timberview||5A||Mark Walker||James Brown||12-3||3-7||-9|
Some conclusions to draw from this data:
-Overall, teams with a new coach in 2012 won about half a game fewer than they did the year before. So, in that way, changing coaches tends to mean a program wins slightly fewer games.
-But on the other hand, the vast majority of programs saw a very negligible change. Of the 95 programs with a new coach, almost half of them – 45 of the 95 – fell between plus-or-minus one win of their 2011 performance. So while the trend is definitively negative, it’s not like the bottom tends to fall out.
-How about some applause for some of the coaches at the top? Only four new coaches won at least five more games than their predecessor: Harlingen South’s Lanny Wilson, Naaman Forest’s Sam McElroy, Pasadena Memorial’s Chris Quillian and Texas City’s Leland Surovik. What Wilson is doing at Harlingen South is of particular note; HSHS is a very young program, and with the talent down in the Valley, Wilson could be building the RGV’s next powerhouse.
-A quick note on Tomball and Hidalgo, which saw win increases of 4 and 3, respectively, under their new coaches: those teams also dropped down a classification from 2011 to 2012, as Tomball moved from 5A in 2011 to 4A and 2012, and Hidalgo from 4A to 3A. That’s not to take anything away from coach Danny Ramsey and Scott Ford, but it’s worth taking the results with a grain of salt.
-On the same token, that’s what makes what Tommy Garcia is doing at La Joya Juarez-Lincoln so impressive. Not only did he take over the reins of the Huskies entering the 2012 season, but he also shepherded them through a move up in classification, from 4A to 5A. And then he won three more games in 2012 than the team did in 2011. That’s extra-impressive.
-It was a rough year for William Deen at Brownsville Pace, Padriac McGinnis at Fort Bend Hightower, Lance Gary at North Forney and James Brown at Mansfield Timberview, as their teams won at least eight fewer games in 2012 than 2011. When there’s a drop that big, it’s unwise to put it all on the coaching change, as there are likely other factors that accounted for that, like Fort Bend Hightower losing a player like Bralon Addison.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.