STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Marble Falls High School head football coach and boys athletic coordinator Mike Birdwell has resigned, announcing his decision March 11 via Twitter.
The search for the next coach begins immediately, according to Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Chris Allen.
“We’re going to involve various staff members and community stakeholders (in the search for a new coach),” he said. “I don’t feel like my opinion is the sole opinion. I feel like we have a smart community and will involve multiple voices. And we’ve done well when we’ve involved others.”
Birdwell held the two positions during the 2018-19 school year after serving as interim athletic director and head football coach during the 2017-18 school year.
The Mustangs were 8-12 during the two years Birdwell was the head coach, going 3-7 in 2017 and 5-5 in 2018. Last year, the Mustangs beat Burnet for the first time since 2013 and won their last three games of the season.
Birdwell said this decision was his to make and no one at the administration level asked him to leave, noting the core of the football staff has been together for the past five years.
“You never know the twists and turns,” he said. “I had complete support from upper administration. Moving forward for all parties, Marble Falls ISD will focus their efforts in getting a replacement they feel is the best fit in this community.”
While he is looking for his next job, he said he plans to help out as long as he’s needed.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” he said. “Whenever one door closes, another door opens. I don’t have anything lined up for the future. (Resigning) allows me to explore those opportunities to reach out and branch out.”
His wife, Highland Lakes Elementary School Principal Bethany Birdwell, has not left her position, he said.
“My wife is in love with Highland Lakes Elementary and those kids,” he said. “She is completely one hundred percent committed. She does a great job, and we’re proud of her and the work she does.”
Birdwell had already lost one member of his staff when defensive coordinator Chad Bishop resigned in January. Birdwell said he had interviewed several top-notch candidates for the job but hadn’t made a hire yet.
He has not announced the dates of spring football either and wasn’t sure the Mustangs would undergo the drills. The reason is because Birdwell wanted to be fair to the program. According to University Interscholastic League rules, Class 5A and 6A programs that take part in spring football must give up the first week of fall training camp in August. Birdwell didn’t want to put the Mustangs through spring football and take that valuable first week away from the new coach, who would want that time to install a new offense and defense, he said.
Birdwell leaves Marble Falls with plenty of happy memories and without regret, he said.
Top of the list are the number of football players in the program with about 175 at Marble Falls Middle School, the 2018 freshman squad that finished 8-1 during the season, and senior quarterback Andrew Stripling accepting a scholarship to play at Abilene Christian University. He also noted the number of athletes who are playing more than one sport and those who are taking care of business in the classroom.
“On behalf of the coaches, we couldn’t be more proud,” he said. “My family and I have rooted ourselves in the community and given everything we can. It’s been an honor to serve as the head football coach and boys coordinator. There’s a bigger power that’s working here, and we’re trying to be obedient.”