Marble Falls superintendent hopes to have new football coach by April board meeting

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

Among the Marble Falls High School football starting positions open in 2019 is quarterback with Luke Nail in the mix. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

Among the Marble Falls High School football starting positions open in 2019 is quarterback with Luke Nail in the mix. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Chris Allen hopes to present a new head football coach to the Board of Trustees by April. But that depends on how quickly he can find the right fit.

The position is open after coach Mike Birdwell resigned, announcing his decision via social media March 11.

Allen said the position is too important to not have input from other community members, so he will organize “a group of stakeholders” to assist in locating the next coach.

That group will include MFISD employees, community leaders, and the like.

“If we can put smart people in the room, (the April 15 meeting) is a goal we can shoot for,” he said.

As for the next coach’s resume, the superintendent said that he is wide open to the possibilities. He hopes the position will draw interest from seasoned coaches from a variety of backgrounds. Some could be current head coaches who believe Marble Falls is an opportunity they can’t pass, while others might be coordinators at successful programs across the state.

But Allen does know the next coach should be someone with a commitment to preparation and who will help the Mustangs establish and reach goals.

“We want someone who puts our athletes in the best position moving forward,” he said.

The 2019 season has plenty of questions because of the number of seniors who are graduating this year.

On a 45-player roster in 2018, 24 were seniors, including eight starters on offense and two on defense.

Upcoming graduates include quarterback Andrew Stripling, who signed a national letter of intent to play for Abilene Christian University; running backs Dillon Mayberry and Cooper Wilson; slot receiver Brock Linder; offensive linemen Genaro Arreguin, Braidon Whiteside, Chance Haley, and Franke Gonzalez; and linebackers Zach Fearn and Reece VanHoose.

While players are expected to compete for starting jobs every day, finding the next starting quarterback is a priority for the staff. Rising junior quarterback Luke Nail and rising sophomore quarterback Jake Becker, son of former Marble Falls quarterback Matt Becker, are expected to compete for the role.

Nail led the Mustangs to a 1-1 record after the first two games of 2018, including the 34-14 victory over Burnet, the program’s first win over the Bulldogs since the 2013 season. Becker led the freshman squad to an 8-1 record last season.

The Mustangs had participated in spring football five of the past seven years, but Birdwell said March 11 he was uncertain if he would have done so this spring. The University Interscholastic League allows Class 5A and 6A programs to have 18 practices before the end of the spring semester, but those programs must give up a week of fall training camp in August.

When Todd Dodge was hired in January 2012, he raced to assemble a staff in time for spring football in May.

When he resigned two years later to take the same position at Austin Westlake, Dodge didn’t put the Mustangs through spring football so the new coach would have the extra week during August training camp to install the offense and defense. By the time former head coach Matt Green’s hire was announced in mid-May 2014, he didn’t have the time or the staff in place to have spring football.

Allen said the new coach will decide if the Mustangs have spring football, but the timing of that hire will dictate what the football program does.

Marble Falls opens the season against Fischer Canyon Lake at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

3 Responses to “Marble Falls superintendent hopes to have new football coach by April board meeting”

  1. Fox says:

    I think it’s safe to assume the leadership at the top (Supt Allen) is clearly not competent at retaining quality coaches and that is a major problem. Is he difficult to work with? Is he arrogant? Is he a liar? Possibly all 3?
    In his tenure (4 years) here are some concerning facts:
    3 different ADs
    3 different head football coaches with new hire coming
    That’s alarming considering he is in charge at the top. Quality Supts can manage and retain leaders, but that’s not happening in MFISD. WHY? That’s not the end though:
    3 head volleyball coaches
    2 head girls basketball coaches
    2 head softball coaches
    2 head baseball coaches
    2 head girls soccer coaches
    All of this in less than 4 years? Disfunctional and I’m sorry to say, but the buck stops at the top with Allen.
    Which coaches will leave from now until school ends?
    Boys basketball ?
    Softball ?
    Baseball ?
    Boys Track
    Girls Basketball?? – investigations currently into UIL violations by head coach
    This all needs to be researched and questions need to be asked to determine why this has happened. It’s outrageous and there are reasons for it. No school suffers this much turnover for no good reason.
    Why is Mike Birdwell leaving when he beat Burnet, won 5 games, freshmen won district, he’s been here 5 years, has a high school aged daughter, wife works in the district? This makes NO sense. We must ask some questions or we will have another new football coach in a year from now.

  2. River Rat says:

    Good points Fox, why does a Head Football Coach miss two weeks of school with no explanation to the athletes he is in charge of leading?
    Why does a coach who in my judgement has tremendous support from athletes, parents and his coaches resign a position he loves and yet he is not allowed to speak to his athletes one last time. Birdwell is not leaving for another job that he has been already been hired to lead.
    As Fox points out, let’s look at the turnover. In addition to the various coaching positions why did the HS principal, Manny Lunoff, resign in October a year or two ago? He did not leave for another job. He stayed in Marble Falls through the school year before taking another job in the summer. Did Lunoff get paid his salary and not work? Is Birdwell being paid his salary. It doesn’t add up that people resign positions, say they love the school, and they don’t have their next job.
    On the surface, Matt Green leaving for Llano seemed to make sense, he lived over there. If that is the case why did he consider other jobs in the Spring of 2017?
    People need to read between the lines! None of this makes sense!
    To the next Head Football Coach, BEWARE! The job description on the MFHS website doesn’t mention the HFC teaching two classes (that probably falls under “other duties as assigned”). Read the job description. Teaching two classes was thrown on Coach Birdwell this last summer in addition to all the administrative duties associated with the Head Football Coach/Boys Coordinator job.

  3. maria says:

    I agree with the two previous comments and glad that people are starting to read between the lines.

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