The Allen opening created a question in my head: Is that job still one of the best jobs in the state? I know many coaches who believe leading the biggest high school in the state allows for tempting advantages. I also know a few who look at those advantages as headaches and potential pitfalls. So, if Allen isn't one of the best 10 jobs in Texas, which ones are? Here are the jobs I consider the best in Texas with some help from Greg Tepper and Matt Stepp.
Note: Salary was not taking into account. My criteria was more about a history of success and a foundation (facilities, one-school ISD's when possible, talent pool) for future success.
State titles: 10 (12)
10-year record: 141-9
Why? Who wouldn’t want to coach in a place referred to as “Title Town”? You get talent from Aledo, and maybe a few from Fort Worth, and you waltz into the playoffs with a legitimate shot to win a state title. Sure, the district is harder after this realignment, but Aledo is still one of the surest bets in Texas for a coach to be successful on a yearly basis. The Bearcats have won at least 10 games in 20 of the 22 seasons this century. Two head coaches have won multiple state title games this century. The last losing record was in 1993.
Expert’s take: This program has everything: the pedigree (record 10 state championships), the facilities (including a 60-yard indoor practice facility), the community support and the talent. Its location is a big pull, too — close enough to a major metro area, but far enough away that you’re your own thing. Maybe the best job in the state. - Tepper
State titles: 5 (7)
10-year record: 130-17
Why? Canadian is the best landing spot in West Texas. The Wildcats’ last losing season was in 1996. Before that was 1984. Two different head coaches won state titles there over the last 15 years and 2021 was the first year the program didn’t post double digit wins since 2011. That’s absurd. I love West Texas. The food is great. Nothing is ever busy, so parking is easy to find. The people are fantastic, and even if they weren’t, I could go live on a hundred acres 20 miles outside of town. The head football coach might be the biggest celebrity in town (if we’re winning) and that might provide me with some perks like the best booth at a restaurant or an honest quote at the mechanic shop.
Expert’s take: Canadian is not your typical dusty panhandle town. “The Oasis of the High Plains” is home to some of the best small school football in Texas. The Wildcats were ahead of the curve implementing the spread offense in the late 90s and the wins have followed in bunches, along with a handful of state titles. The town supports their team like no other and at the 3A-Division II level, Canadian may not boast a ton of Division I talent, but it always seems to be one of the deeper teams in the state at the small school level. - Stepp
State titles (appearances):
10-year record: 128-17
Why? Carthage is a football jewel in East Texas that was polished into perfection by Scott Surratt, who won eight titles in his first 15 seasons on the job. Following a legend is never easy and there aren’t many legends bigger than Surratt. The facilities and support, as well as raw talent, is in abundance. I’d get to avoid the big city drama (and traffic), as well as competing against Class 5 and 6A programs. Class 4A feels like the perfect temperature of porridge.
Expert’s take: Long known as a program with talent that underachieved, Carthage is now a household name in the state with eight state championships since 2008. A 4A-Division II program in East Texas, Carthage boasts some of the best facilities in the state along with access to per capita some of the best talent anywhere in talent-rich East Texas. - Stepp
State titles: 3 (10)
10-year record: 93-37
Why? There might not be a better job in south Texas. Cuero is a hotbed of talent, the community cares about football, and the Gobblers recently won a state championship. The region is winnable and multiple coaches have experienced loads of success over the years. Cuero is a consistent contender without monster pressure or a ton of local rivals to unseat the Gobblers as the best team in the area. I’ll make the playoffs nearly every season, and am likely to make a run deep into those playoffs. The program played at least 12 games in seven of the previous nine seasons. Cuero holds a 100-36-1 playoff record in school history and went undefeated in the regular season seven times since 2004.
Expert’s take: When Cuero made its run to the 2018 4A Division II state championship, I described Cuero as “a town entirely populated by crazy people” and I meant it in the highest compliment. There are few places in the world as football-nuts as Cuero, Texas, and when the Gobblers are cooking, there are few other places you want to be. And they show it, too: the facilities are excellent, they take care of their coaches, and about every three or four years, a special class of talent rolls through the halls. - Tepper
State titles (appearances): 6 (11)
10-year record: 95-31
Why? There’s something to being the king of a major city like San Antonio. Even with the new schools in the Alamo City, the Judson job remains the top of the mountain. Decades of success means that every player and parent in the area recognizes the Judson brand. The 4-6 record in 2021 represented the first losing season for the Rockets since 1976. That’s insane. I don’t need to win titles. I want stability. I can be a consistent winner at Judson and occasionally field a team capable of competing with the best in Class 6A. The food is tremendous. The people are nice. The traffic is manageable. And I can go visit my alma mater (UTSA) whenever I want.
Expert’s take: It’s been a rough couple of years for the Rockets, but this is still the premier job in one of the major metro areas in Texas. The history here speaks for itself, etching your name alongside Jim Rackley and D.W. Rutledge. Judson ISD has expanded recently which has hurt the talent pool a bit, but this is still an elite Texas high school football job. - Tepper
State titles (appearances): 9 (15)
10-year record: 134-12
Why? Katy is the first program that springs to mind when I think of Texas high school football. The Katy area might be the most talent-dense suburb in Texas and the Tigers still seem to get the best picks of the litter. Katy has gone undefeated 17 times and posted 32 10-win seasons. Three different head coaches have won titles at Katy, including two over the last 30 years. The humidity scares me more than the competition (joking, sort of). As does following a legend like Gary Joseph.
Expert’s take: Katy is the exception to the rule when it comes to fast growing suburbs that have added multiple high schools over the years. Despite the growth, the Tigers have remained among the most elite programs not just in the Houston area, but in the state. The tradition at Katy is second to none, and it’s a destination place to live and a destination program that does things in an old-school style, while still managing to be innovative at the same time. - Stepp
State titles: 2 (5)
10-year record: 106-25
Why? There’s possibly more FBS talent standing in Longview than Pine Trees. There’s a reason current coach John King has stayed put at Longview since 2004. His Lobos haven’t won fewer than eight games in that span. Take away a 3-7 record in 2000 and Longview hasn’t posted a losing season this century. The Lobos registered 12 10-win seasons, five nine-win seasons, and one eight-win season over the past 18 campaigns. Reaching the playoffs is essentially a lock. Going a few rounds deep is probable, and there is occasionally enough talent to make a real run at the title. And anyone who was at AT&T Stadium when Longview won a state title in 2018 would love that type of support.
Expert’s take: The biggest draw here is the community support — there are few fan bases in Texas high school football like Lobo Nation. As a one-school ISD in a pretty big city, you have a lot of advantages as far as talent pool is concerned. Facilities are very nice and you can win at the highest level. And if you do win at the highest level, you’ll never buy a meal in town again. - Tepper
State titles: 8 (13)
10-year record: 126-19
Why? Three different coaches won state championships at Mart since 1999. The last time the program recorded fewer than eight wins was in 2003. The team’s last losing season was in 2002. The Panthers lost more than one time in one of the previous six campaigns and 11 of the last 12 seasons ended with double-digit wins. The talent is enormous and a deep run in the playoffs is nearly guaranteed looking at the success of Rusty Nail and Kevin Hoffman. There aren’t many small-school jobs in Texas that possess as many winning factors.
Expert’s take: The most decorated 2A program in the state, there’s always a wealth of talent running through the tiny McLennan County hamlet, many of which can be seen at Quan Cosby’s family get-togethers. The facilities are very strong for a 2A school, the community is the wind in your sails, and they treat coaches well. There’s a reason they’ve only had two coaches in the last 15 years, and it ain’t because nobody’s calling. - Tepper
State titles (appearances): 8 (10)
10-year record: 117-19
Why? I was born in 1985. The 3-6-1 finish in 1996 is the only losing record Southlake Carroll posted in my first 37 years on the planet. The Dragons won at least one championship in each of the previous four decades starting in 1998. The program is 26-3 to start the current decade, though a championship still alludes Riley Dodge as a head coach. He won a few as a quarterback with his dad in charge during the 1990s. The expectations are high, and the pressure would get annoying, but I’d never lack for facilities or funding and the talent is always there. I’d also become a scratch golfer.
Expert’s take: The Dragons became a household name as a small-town 3A program back in the 1980’s and as the town has grown, the quality of football has remained consistently elite over the past five decades. The town of Southlake is in one of the more attractive areas to live in the DFW Metroplex and when you add in great facilities like a large indoor complex you have the makings of a truly elite gig. - Stepp
State titles (appearances): 4 (11)
10-year record: 121-23
Why? Westlake is one of the most attractive jobs in the state because it is in a one-school ISD that habitually produces quarterbacks. Location matters. The Austin-area is growing and so is the depth of talent. Todd Dodge proved how great of a job Westlake is with three consecutive state titles as he rode into the sunset. It remains the best job in Austin despite pushes from Lake Travis, Cedar Park, and Liberty Hill. And my house would sell for 10 times the price five years after I retire and that’s a perk. A lake, golf courses, and some of the best food in Texas in my backyard. The traffic and allergies are a minus.
Expert’s take: Located in one of the most desirable areas of the state on the west side of Austin. Westlake combines a long-winning tradition in a one-school ISD with good facilities and access to a strong base of talent to make it not just one of the best jobs in the state, but one of the best jobs in the country. - Stepp
This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.