STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
More than 50 people, including about five Marble Falls High School football players, attended a meeting April 1 for those interested in giving their input into the qualities the next Mustangs head football coach should have.
Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Chris Allen and Assistant Superintendent Jeff Gasaway presented three questions to those at the meeting.
• What are the qualities or attributes of the next coach at Marble Falls High School?
• What are the professional experiences the next coach at Marble Falls High School should have?
• What are the professional skills the next coach at Marble Falls High School should have?
MFISD posted the head football coach opening on March 11 after current head football coach and boys athletic coordinator Mike Birdwell announced his resignation.
Allen said he wants to name a new head coach during the April 15 school board meeting. On April 1 meeting, the superintendent told those gathered in the school library that 127 people have applied for the position. More applicants could still submit their resumes.
“I think we have a great pool of candidates,” the superintendent said.
District staff members will use the information gathered during the April 1 meeting to create a profile of what the community and MFISD are looking for in a head football coach.
The student-athletes highlighted a number of things they’d like to see in that person, including a high football IQ, loyalty, trustworthiness, humbleness, determination, relatability, persistence, straightforwardness, and discipline as well as someone willing to take risks when needed and who has faith in his players and staff. Parents and adults echoed many of those attributes, adding they wanted someone with a proven track record in building a program starting from youth sports through varsity. They also want a person with coaching experience at a school similar to Marble Falls High School in demographics.
Allen agrees that Marble Falls can’t be the next coach’s first time to lead a program.
The superintendent said a coaching search committee will narrow the applications, possibly down to between seven and 15, for a first round of interviews, though the group can interview as many as they like.
That committee then will recommend two to four finalists for a second round of interviews by a second committee consisting of Allen, Gasaway, Marble Falls High School Principal Damon Adams, and Director of Special Programs Cord Woerner, the former head football coach and athletics director from 2004-12.
While the goal is to present a coach for hire at the April 15 school board meeting, Allen said he didn’t think it would be a problem for the trustees to call a special meeting if one of the committees needed more time.
One concern raised by attendees April 1 was a prospective coach seeing Marble Falls as a stepping stone to another job. Allen said that is one of the hardest things to gauge during an interview.
He noted that while he was going through the interview process to be superintendent here, that was one question he was asked. He said, at some point, the committee must find someone they believe will lead the program back to its winning ways.
“You want someone who has an obligation to the community that’s not greater than to themselves,” he said.
This is the second head football coaching hire Allen will recommend to the board since he became superintendent in 2015. He recommended Birdwell as the interim head coach and athletics director in 2017 after then-head coach and athletics director Matt Green accepted the same job in Llano. Birdwell then accepted the position of head football coach and high school boys athletics coordinator in 2018 before resigning earlier this year.
A 2019 hire would mark the fourth Marble Falls High School football coach since 2012, when Woerner was reassigned in January of that year. Two weeks later, Todd Dodge was named head football coach and athletics director. He stayed for two years then accepted the same position at Austin Westlake High School.
Green took over in 2014 before heading to Llano three years later.
Birdwell, who was a co-offensive coordinator on Green’s staff, took over after Green’s departure.
Allen said longevity and service are priorities as the district looks for a coach who will stay longer than three years.
“We need to break that pattern,” he said.
Allen said residents, alumni, and anyone who has a coach in mind who they believe would be a great fit for the program are encouraged to contact Central Office at (830) 693-4357 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want to be very good listeners as we go through this process,” he said.