Candidates to become Schreiner's First Head Coach

Photo Courtesy OUAZ Athletics

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When the Schreiner Mountaineers take the field to play a junior varsity schedule in 2025, it will mark nearly 69 years since the university last sponsored a program. Originally known as the Schreiner Institute, the university fielded a football team from 1923 through 1956.

Schreiner experienced success on the gridiron, including recording its first undefeated season in 1926 and winning the Texas junior college championship in 1935. Raymond Berry played for the Mountaineers before embarking on an NFL career, where he was invited to six Pro Bowls and led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards three times during his time with the Baltimore Colts.

However, few high school recruits outside NFL history buffs will know about Berry’s career. The next head coach will be starting the program from scratch. Schreiner Director of Athletics Bill Raleigh plans to build a field house, weight room, and practice fields on campus, with a long-range plan to build a stadium on campus.

In the meantime, the Mountaineers will play at Antler Stadium. Fortunately, the university and Kerrville ISD have a solid relationship. More importantly, only one high school uses the facility, which allows for easier scheduling for all parties involved compared to other universities that share a facility with three or more high schools.

In my conversation with Raleigh, he mentioned the need for the coach to have enough players on the roster to compete in a junior varsity season in 2025 before playing a varsity schedule as a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2026.

Schreiner should look for a coach with experience building a football program, whether as a head coach or an assistant coach. Previous experience as a head coach or offensive or defensive coordinator at the collegiate or high school level will be necessary for the candidate.

The candidate needs ties to Texas, explicitly recruiting Texas High School football players. This is likely the most essential quality the candidate should possess. Whoever is chosen as head coach, their family will be treated to the gorgeous hill country of Texas. 

Mike Nesbitt, Ottawa, Ariz. head coach

Regarding meeting the qualifications listed above, Nesbitt is the first name that comes to mind. He was hired to start the OUAZ football program at the end of April 2017. During his six seasons with the Spirit, Nesbitt has led the program to two Sooner Athletic Conference championships and two postseason appearances. 

Lone Star Conference fans may remember Nesbitt as head coach at West Texas A&M from 2013 to 2016. The New Mexico native started coaching at Howard Payne and has worked as an assistant at Blinn, WT, Stephen F. Austin, and Houston. Nesbitt spent time as a punter in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.

Coby Gipson, Lamar wide receiver coach/recruiting coordinator

A coach with experience coaching offense and defense, Gipson owns a quality resume. A graduate of LeTourneau, Gipson was head coach at Bishop T.K. Gorman in Tyler, where he led the Crusaders to three consecutive playoff appearances while posting a 28-17 overall record, the best four-year winning percentage in school history.

Gipson was the offensive coordinator at HPU from 2012-2016 before joining East Texas Baptist as the defensive line coach for three years before moving to Beaumont to serve as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Keeping Gipson on staff was a priority for Peter Rossomando when he became head coach in 2023.

Will Snyder, McMurry associate head coach/defensive coordinator

Snyder is a rising coach with multiple years of experience as a defensive coordinator in NCAA Division III. He was named defensive coordinator for the War Hawks in 2022 and was promoted to associate head coach in March 2023. Snyder spent four seasons as the defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator at Howard Payne before arriving in Abilene.

The Tacoma, Wash. native’s coaching career began as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Waldorf College, in 2009. Snyder coached outside linebackers at Cornell College in Iowa from 2011-2014 and spent three seasons coaching defensive backs at NAIA Campbellsville before joining the Yellow Jackets in 2018.

Andy Padron, Mary Hardin-Baylor offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

If Schreiner prefers to hire a head coach with a focus on offense, Padron would be a solid selection. A graduate of UMHB, Padron returned to his alma mater after being named offensive coordinator in 2022. The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA DIII national semifinals in his first season. Before returning to UMHB, Padron spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at DeSoto, where he helped lead the Eagles to two appearances in the state quarterfinals. 

Padron possesses FBS experience after spending two seasons as co-offensive coordinator at Bowling Green. His coaching career began at Texas Lutheran in 2010, where he spent one season as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator after one season. The Bulldogs earned their first NCAA postseason appearance and three conference titles during Padron’s four seasons guiding the offense.

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