This Week in TXHSFB (Feb. 15): Busy offseasons in DFW and East Texas continue

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Jeff Fleener (Photo courtesy Mesquite ISD)

The movement in the DFW area has started to pick up the past couple of weeks and this week’s big new is out of Mesquite as the Skeeters didn’t keep their vacant HFC job open for long. MISD quickly moved to bring in Robbie Robinson’s replacement and on Monday night the school board approved San Antonio Brandeis HC Jeff Fleener as their next HFC. Fleener, who was the OC for four state title teams in Allen, returned to his hometown of San Antonio in 2015 for his first head coaching gig at Brandeis and in two years posted a 14-9 record.

Arlington Seguin is moving forward in their process to replace departed Carlos Lynn; interviews for an undetermined number of applicants will be held next Tuesday and Thursday.

Waco ISD AD Johnny Tusa advised me on Wednesday morning that the plan is to bring their candidate for HFC at Waco University to the board on Thursday, Feb. 16, and that candidate will be current head boys basketball coach and UHS alum Rodney Smith. A little further south, Killeen Shoemaker reportedly named Beaumont Central HC Toby Foreman as their next head coach. Foreman’s departure from Central means Beaumont ISD will now have to hire two head football coaches as West Brook is still searching for Kevin Flanigan’s replacement.

Up in the panhandle, Borger hired Levelland DC Brian Coker to be their next head football coach. Coker is a veteran of coaching on the South Plains and now makes his way up to the panhandle for his first-ever head coaching job. Coker beat out a finalist who was also a coordinator on the South Plains, and a current out-of-state head coach for the position.

Levelland should be starting up interviews for the vacant HFC/AD position later next week. There will be an internal candidate who is in the mix, along with a current coordinator near DFW who has some area ties. The Littlefield school board will be meeting Thursday night and a hire could potentially be made at that point. The likely scenario here would be LISD promoting from within. If the board decides to open the job up to outside applicants, then the job will be posted publicly and the application and interview process will start from that point forward.

The Woodlands College Park will officially name their new head coach at the school board meeting on Wednesday, Feb 22. The candidate who will be presented to the board is Klein Collins DC and former Texas A&M player Lonnie Madison.

Elgin brought in five candidates to interview for their vacant HFC/AD vacancy last week. Among the rumored candidates are a Central Texas OC, two coordinators from the DFW area, a San Antonio area OC and a former head coach in the Houston and Central Texas area. Don’t be surprised if the interview pool is expanded some this week, as well. A hire is likely to be made very quickly as Elgin wants to have their new coach in place before the end of February.

Since the state title games in December, there had been whispers of a possible change at San Antonio Madison and that came to fruition late Thursday as North East ISD announced Mavericks HC John Campbell resigned to pursue other opportunities. It’s a mysterious move to say the least as Campbell had appeared to have the Mavericks pointed in the right direction. After a disastrous 0-10 season in 2015, the Mavs rebounded to 4-7 in 2016 with a very young squad. The future looks bright on the surface as Madison appears to have some good young groups in the pipeline. As always in North East ISD, the smart money says the district will stay in house with the hire, much like they did when Reagan opened in early January.

Haskell hired Jacksboro HC Brian Hodnett officially last Friday morning, Hodnett’s hiring ends a lengthy search for HISD. Hodnett brought much needed stability to Jacksboro, which had been a revolving door for head coaches before Hodnett’s six-year tenure.

Nederland should make a decision on their next HFC/AD to replace the retired Larry Neumann soon. The decision should be public on Monday night, Feb. 20, at the board meeting.

Hico apparently has a lone finalist for their vacant HFC/AD position and it’s Santo HFC Randy Thornton. He informed his team of his pending move on Thursday, but the hire will still need to be approved by the Hico school board on Feb. 20.

Cotulla is moving forward with their process to find a new HFC/AD. The hiring committee has been created and calls for interviews should begin next week. The ambitious plan is to have a hire by the end of the month, but the process could stretch into early March. Odem, as expected, stayed inside with their hire to replace AJ Martinez, who left for Corpus Christi Carroll. DC Armando Huerta was promoted to HFC/AD and will look to continue the success started by Martinez.

Cibolo Steele, which may be the most high profile opening statewide, should make a final decision later this week. Two finalists were brought in on Tuesday for final interviews. The smart money still lies with an internal candidate, but we have confirmed one finalist is from the outside.

The wild offseason in East Texas continues as Tyler Chapel Hill and Marshall both will be searching for new coaches. At Chapel Hill, Thomas Sitton resigned last Friday to join the staff at Converse Judson as the defensive coordinator. Sitton led Chapel Hill to the 2011 state title and an appearance in the title game in 2010. It marks almost a complete turnover in Chapel Hill as OC Chris Taber was named HC at LaVernia a couple of weeks ago. A little to the east on Interstate 20, Marshall is in the market for a new coach as after a lengthy search, Duncanville ISD tabbed Mavericks HC Clint Harper as their next athletic director. Harper returned to his alma mater in 2013 and after a 3-8 first year, he was 24-12 in his final three years at the helm. Marshall has the chance to be a promising job as they bring back a lot of talent from last year’s team and there are some strong younger groups in the pipeline. Reports are Texarkana Texas High may have narrowed in on a candidate for their next HFC/AD, and it appears a current HC in the DFW area could be headed back east if sources are correct.

For the most part, team schedules in 2017 will remain the same as they were in 2016 but there are always a few exceptions and football fans in DFW were certainly given an early Christmas present as powerhouses Cedar Hill and Allen announced a Week 1 matchup. Both teams played out-of-state opponents last year, so they both had an odd-year opening. The teams will play in Allen as part of the Tom Landry Classic.

It’s officially clinic season in the state of Texas and if you have coaching clinic information that we are missing below by all means send it our way! You can e-mail it to me at mrstepp817@yahoo.comor reach out to me on twitter @Matt_Stepp817

June 13-15: Angelo Football Clinic, San Angelo http://www.angelofootballclinic.com/index.html

July 23-26: 2017 THSCA Coaches Convention & Coaching School, Houston

Convention & Coaching School | Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA)

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Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.

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