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Football: Chico searching for AD – District mum on why former coach was removed

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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Chico ISD hopes to have its new head football coach and athletic director selected by the end of February, Chico ISD Superintendent Don Elsom said Tuesday morning.

Lane Wilson

The school district posted the job opening on Jan. 26, signaling that head coach Lane Wilson would not return. Wilson coached the Dragons the past three seasons, going 12-20. In that span, Wilson snapped a 15-year playoff drought dating back to 2001 and made the postseason each of the past two years.

“It’s hard to pin it down to one thing,” Elsom said regarding the decision to part ways with Wilson. “Lots of things in that job are looked at and evaluated. It was just a matter of wanting to move in a different direction.”

Elsom said the district did not tell Wilson he had to resign, adding Wilson still had a contract with Chico ISD. Wilson signed a two-year deal with the district last year.

Wilson previously told the Messenger he had been reassigned but had not been given a new assignment by the district. Wilson said Tuesday he would not remain in the district after this school year and never got a definitive answer as to why he was relieved of his position

“I’m not planning on staying,” Wilson said. “I guess I’m not the guy they wanted. I definitely never saw it coming. I was preparing for the upcoming season, trying to get my schedule ready for UIL realignment and all of that. It was just kind of a shock is all I can really say.”

Wilson had been with Chico for seven years, serving as head coach for three of them. In those seven years, the Dragons won 34 games. In the seven seasons before he arrived, Chico won just eight games.

Chico lost to Valley View the past two years in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Wilson said he first learned of the district’s decision to remove him from his position sometime after Christmas break.

“It’s frustrating in that we had turned the thing around and were winning games,” Wilson said. “We went through a couple of rough seasons the last couple of years, but I felt like this past year we were really picking back up and were heading in the right direction – to kind of get your legs cut out from underneath you – it is frustrating.”

Elsom said the district is in the process of reviewing possible candidates to replace Wilson and has received over 80 applications for the job. There will be an advisory committee consisting of six to 10 people that will help Elsom make a decision on who to hire.

Elsom will then recommend a candidate to trustees, who will confirm and ultimately make the hire. Elsom said the salary for this position will vary based on the experience level of the candidate and several other factors.

The advisory committee and Elsom plan to meet Friday to narrow down applicants and set up interviews. The job closes Friday.

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