STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
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.