Duncan: Holliday's in-house streak could end

Zach Duncan

Holliday ISD is beginning to conduct phone interviews this week for its athletic director and head football coach opening.

It isn’t surprising the search committee is sifting through 148 applications. Pretty much every head coaching job in Texas draws an overwhelming amount of interest.

Holliday received applications from coaches in 17 different states, including places like New Hampshire and Minnesota. But that doesn’t strike me as odd, especially if you’ve seen applicant lists for openings before.

Texas high school football can’t be beat when it comes to pay and prestige. The rest of the country knows it.

You could make the argument that the most surprising aspect is that Holliday is having a search to begin with. It has been almost 40 years since the Eagles made an outside hiring of a head football coach.

Don Lucy had spent six years as an assistant at Iowa Park, where he won two state titles. Then in 1974, he was ready to lead his own program.

“I thought I was smart enough to be a head coach until I got a head coaching job,” Lucy said Tuesday with a chuckle. “There were a lot of things I didn’t know.”

Lucy knew how to win. In 15 seasons he guided the Eagles to 116 victories and made the playoffs eight times. And most of his tenure occurred when only the district’s winner advanced.

Matt Robinson, who had been on Lucy’s staff since 1977, replaced him for the 1989 season. When his tenure controversially ended in the spring of 2001, Robinson had compiled a tidy 97-39-3 mark.

Next Holliday promoted Terry Wolf, who rattled off 108 victories and several state quarterfinal appearances. When he stepped down last spring, guess what Holliday did?

They promoted defensive coordinator Cody Patton, who had to reapply for his position since the athletic director duties were being reunited with the coaching title.

I have no idea what chance Patton has of keeping that in-house streak alive. There have been rumors of Holliday cleaning house ever since this summer.

What I do know is you could make the argument Holliday is the area’s third best coaching gig behind Rider and Graham. Some other schools might take that last sentence as an insult, but it’s more a compliment to the Eagles’ program.

A profile of the applicant list reflects that. The Holliday administration compiled some numbers upon request, and the finished product makes it look like the hiring committee has some long nights ahead.

Forty-four current head football coaches have sent in applications, and Holliday Superintendent Kevin Dyes said all but about five or six are from Texas.

While they’re probably not from powerhouse programs, 14 Class 4A head coaches and two 5A head coaches have thrown their names in the hat.

A total of 21 coordinators and 33 assistants hail from 5A and 4A schools. I’m sure there are some quality small-school head coaches in the mix, too.

Dyes is making his first hire at Holliday, but he has been involved in three other coaching searches. When I asked him if anything raised his eyebrows regarding the list of applicants, he said there wasn’t.

“I know I’m the superintendent, but I’m going to say this as objectively as possible. I wasn’t surprised by the number or the quality of applicants,” Dyes said. “It’s a good job, a good place to coach.”

Every superintendent is always excited about application pools. When a coach is hired, you never hear them complain they didn’t like any of the guys they had to choose from.

It sounds like Holliday has plenty of quality applicants. If the school district opts for one of them over Patton, it will end an amazing in-house run.

PROFILE OF Holliday APPLICANTS

Here is a profile of the applicant list provided by Holliday ISD. It reflects only an applicant’s current position and not previous jobs. The vast majority of applicants were from Texas, but there are others mixed in from different classifications from out of state. Also, only 143 of the 148 applications were tallied because it was unclear the status of five.

Current athletic director/head football coaches: 27

5A: 0

4A: 7

3A: 3

2A: 10

A: 7

Current head football coaches (no AD title): 17

5A: 2

4A: 7

3A: 5

2A: 3

A: 0

Current coordinators: 48

5A: 6

4A: 15

3A: 16

2A: 10

A: 1

Current assistants (not coordinators): 41

5A: 17

4A: 16

3A: 6

2A: 2

A: 0

NOTEWORTHY:

n There were five college assistants that applied and one college head coach who Dyes said was from a lower-level.

n Four coaches from private schools applied.

n The states that had at least one applicant apply were: Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, Iowa, Alabama, Washington, California, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maryland, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Arizona and North Carolina.

© 2013 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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