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Burnet could name football coach soon

Burnet Bulldogs football

Burnet Consolidated Independent School District has received 71 applications for the head football coach position, and officials hope to whittle those down to a finalist later this month. Photo by Luedecke Photography/Martelle Luedecke

The Burnet High School football team could soon have a new head coach. Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett told the board of trustees during its Monday, May 17, meeting that he’d like to hold a special meeting late next week to possibly approve a hire.

Earlier in May, current head coach Jerod Rye announced he was stepping down from the position to spend more time with his family and focus on teaching.

McBurnett and Athletics Director Kurt Jones said the job listing has drawn 71 applicants. Jones added the goal is to narrow those into a group of candidates who will be interviewed by himself, McBurnett, and Burnet High School Principal Casey Burkhart. 

“We’ve had interest from within the staff,” he said when asked if any current Bulldog coaches have applied. “That decision (on who to hire) won’t fall on any one person. We’ll evaluate from different perspectives.”

Jones, who was on the football staff for more than a decade and the head coach for seven years, knows the job requires more than a knowledge of the playbook. Also at the top of the list are integrity, character, and someone who embodies the school’s motto of spirit, pride, and honor.

“We’re finding the right leader,” Jones said. 

Time is of the essence. Currently, Texas high school football programs are instituting summer strength-and-conditioning programs, and activities such as 7-on-7 football and linemen challenges are taking place across the state. A new coach might come with different offensive and defensive schemes, so getting updated playbooks in the hands of student-athletes is crucial before the season begins.

Aside from all of that, coaches and athletes will need time to build rapport. 

It’s a delicate balance in finding the right fit for the program while moving quickly, Jones said. 

“All those things are absolutely important,” he said. “You want to give that person a chance to establish those things. And you don’t want to be in a rush; you want to get it right. We’re hopeful it’ll be a person who’ll stay in this position awhile. That’s more important.”