An offseason of huge coaching shakeups across Texas small college programs

Courtesy of UIW Football, UMHB Football and PVAMU Football

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Change is inevitable. However, the 2022 offseason has been hectic for Texas small colleges. Over the next few months, we will bring you a series of articles highlighting many of the changes from coaches to the transfer portal.

We begin with the numerous head coaching changes throughout our great state. Currently, eight of the 35 schools in Texas will have a new head coach on the sidelines in 2022. 

The biggest name to depart following the 2021 season was Pete Fredenburg of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Fredenburg retired following 23 seasons and two official national titles with the Crusaders. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame member finished his incredible career with a 231-39 overall record with 17 trips to the NCAA postseason and 47 playoff wins.

Long-time defensive coordinator Larry Harmon was named head coach of UMHB, and one of his first tasks was replacing the offensive coordinator when Stephen Lee left for the same job at Abilene Christian. The Cru tabbed former DeSoto High School offensive coordinator, Andy Padron, to lead the offense next year.

Eric Morris left UIW to become the offensive coordinator at Washington State after building the Cardinals into one of the top football programs in the country. Morris led UIW to the program’s first two appearances in the FCS playoffs and brought two Southland Conference titles to San Antonio.

The Cardinals tasked former co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Central Florida, G.J. Kinne, with leading UIW into the Western Athletic Conference in 2022. The Gilmer High School product brings an impressive playing and coaching resume into his first head coaching job.

After appearing in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game, Prairie View A&M coach Eric Dooley resigned to take the head coach position at rival Southern University. The Panthers elevated Leonard “Bubba” McDowell to head coach following the interview process. McDowell has been an assistant coach at PVAMU for the last eight years.

Abilene Christian parted ways with coach Adam Dorrell following the 2021 season and announced Keith Patterson as the Wildcats head coach. The former Texas Tech defensive coordinator brings plenty of FBS coaching experience and two stints as an assistant at Allen High School to ACU.

Ricky Matt announced his retirement after spending the last two years at the helm of Texas Lutheran. Matt decided to retire on Feb. 16 following a 43-year coaching career with the final six years at TLU. The Bulldogs hired Neal LaHue as head coach last week. LaHue was previously the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M-Kingsville and previously served as offensive coordinator at TLU in 2018 and 2019.

Another American Southwest Conference school will have a new head coach on the sidelines following the resignation of John Pearce from Sul Ross State. Pearce led the Lobos program for the last eight years. Barry Derickson is currently serving as the interim head coach.

The junior college ranks saw two changes at head coach. The movement began with former Navarro coach Scott Parr leaving the Bulldogs to become the co-offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech.

Navarro hired former Cisco College head coach Ryan Taylor to replace Parr. Taylor led the Wranglers the last two seasons and led Cisco to an undefeated record and a Southwest Junior College Football Conference title during the Spring 2021 season.

Cisco’s position did not stay open long, with the Wranglers hiring one of the best junior college coaches in the country. John O’Mera was named head coach following a 14-year stint at Eastern Arizona Community College. O’Mera owns the third-most wins (143) of any active NJCAA coach.

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