Bulldogs on the hunt for new coach, AD

The Alvord Bulldogs may have their new football coach and athletic director Thursday.

Alvord trustees have called a meeting for 5 p.m. to consider personnel items, specifically the athletic director and football coach job.

“I don’t know for sure we’ll be ready. We’d certainly like to be, but we still have some interviews to go,” Branum said Tuesday afternoon. “We do have some teachers to hire for sure.”

According to Branum, the district had 35 applicants for the head football job that came open last month when Curtis Enis left to take the girls basketball job in Burleson. Before he left Alvord, the school board took the role of athletic director from Enis, and Branum has been the acting AD.

“Obviously, this time of year is not the ideal time to be looking for an AD and coach,” Branum said. “But we feel we’ll end up with a good one.”

Of the 35 applicants, the district granted interviews to 12.

Branum said most have head coaching experience.

“The ones that don’t certainly have quite a bit of experience as a lead assistant – offensive or defensive coordinator,” Branum said.

One coach on the current staff applied and interviewed for the job.

The district is within the 45-day period where another district would not be required to release a person under contract to take the job.

“Usually if someone is getting a promotion, most of the time the other school district will waive it,” Branum said.

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Five tabbed to make playoffs

A second preseason publication has tabbed the Decatur, Boyd, Alvord, Chico and Northwest football teams to make the playoffs.

Friday Night Football Texas picked five of the seven Wise County squads to reach the postseason in its picks for each league. Local teams start preseason workouts Aug. 4, and the first game for all county teams is slated for Aug. 29.

The Decatur Eagles were tabbed for third in the new District 4-4A Division I behind Graham and Gainesville.

In 3-4A Division II, the magazine picked Bridgeport, coming off an 0-10 season, last. Celina is the favorite followed by Krum, Anna, Bonham and Aubrey.

Boyd was picked second in the 4-3A Division I. Breckenridge has the inside track to the league title. Paradise is picked sixth behind Bowie, Brock and Ponder.

In 5-2A Division I, Valley View is expected to hold off second-place Chico and third-place Alvord. Alvord, who is currently without a head coach, was picked to win the league by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

New Northwest coach Bill Poe’s squad was picked second in 5-6A behind last year’s 4A Division I state champion Denton Guyer. Byron Nelson is expected to take fourth with Denton Ryan slated third.

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Enis takes job in Burleson

Curtis Enis is leaving the football sidelines in Alvord and will return to coaching on the hardwood.

Curtis Enis

Enis resigned from Alvord ISD Wednesday and will be the girls basketball coach at Burleson High School. His wife, Rhonda, also will leave her post as girls track coach in Alvord to become an assistant at Burleson in basketball and track. She is expected to tender her resignation after signing a contract with Burleson.

“We’re moving to Burleson and will become part of the community there and help the kids,” Enis said.

“I wish the kids in Alvord well. I enjoyed the kids, the faculty and administration. They were all good to me. The girls program will continue to be good and the boys are fixing to be real good. I’ll be 60 miles away but I’ll be rooting for them.”

Enis, who was in his second tenure at the school, leaves after a turbulent spring in which the Alvord ISD trustees failed on a 3-3 vote to extend his contract. Later, the board stripped the athletic director role from him with a unanimous vote.

Enis coached at Alvord from 1989 to 2008, then returned to the school in February 2011 as the athletic director and head football coach. Under Enis, the Bulldogs went 10-20 in three seasons.

The team was 3-7 last year in 2A Division II. But after moving down to the new Class 2A in the latest round of realignment, the Bulldogs are picked to win District 5-2A Division I by Texas Football.

“They are going to have a great football season,” Enis said. “The kids have been working hard and will reap the rewards of their hard work this year.

“It’s been impressive how hard they have worked the past two years. We were young offensively and defensively last year and made mistakes. They were lack-of-experience mistakes.”

He was the Bulldogs’ head coach in 1997, leading the team to an 11-2 record and trip to the third round of the playoffs.

He hired his brother, Greg, as head coach in 1998 and Alvord captured a district title.

Enis came back to Alvord after a two-year stint as the girls basketball coach at Saint Jo. He said his goal at Alvord was to develop a strong work ethic.

“When I came back and looked at the boys program, we had to establish a work ethic,” Enis said. “We had established that with the girls when I was here the first time, a strong work ethic and a commitment to the athlete as a whole. We knew it’d take time.

“What also held us back were the numbers. We had 200 kids, and we were playing schools with 260 and 280. We were the small fish in the big pond. We tried not to use that as an excuse.”

Enis said after this year’s realignment, which placed Alvord in a league with Valley View, Chico, Blue Ridge, Bells and Trenton, the kids in the program began working even harder.

“You saw that they were gaining confidence. I didn’t think they could work any harder, but it just amped up the kids’ work ethic,” Enis said. “They are going to be really good. I’m not going to be there to be a part of it. I hope the rest of the staff stays there.”

Curtis Enis said he hopes current assistant and former Chico coach Pete Hart lands the athletic director and football coach job. A group of players led by incoming senior Joe Randall addressed the school board at its Thursday night meeting to ask that the board “hire from within.”

“He’s a good coach, hard worker and very thorough,” Enis said. “He’s deserving of the head coaching position.”

AISD posted the opening Wednesday for a head football coach and athletic director. No date was set for the hiring.

Going back to coaching basketball full time, Enis takes a 433-215 career record. He is 19-13 in playoff games and led teams to seven district titles. He took the Alvord Lady Bulldogs to the state tournament in 1995, falling to Sudan.

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Five teams picked for playoffs

Football fans in Decatur, Alvord, Boyd, Chico and Northwest can make their plans for the postseason according to polls in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

The annual football guide hit stands this past week and picked five of the county’s seven teams to earn playoff spots. Only Paradise and Bridgeport were not predicted to make the playoffs.

No area teams were in preseason rankings for the six classifications. The University Interscholastic League renamed the classifications for this fall with 5A becoming the new 6A. The old six-man or Class A Division II is now Class A. The other classes all moved up with the old 3A now being 4A.

The Decatur Eagles under new head coach Mike Fuller were picked third in the new 4-4A Division I behind Graham and Gainesville. Wichita Falls Hirschi was tabbed fourth, Burkburnett fifth and Mineral Wells last.

Fuller, who arrived in the spring from Colleyville Heritage to take over a Decatur team that went 9-4 and made the 3A Division I region semifinals, downplayed the predictions.

“I don’t put much stock in it,” he said. “We’ll show up each Friday night and compete.”

In 3-4A Division II, Bridgeport was picked sixth behind Celina, Bonham, Aubrey, Anna and Krum. The Bulls are coming off a winless campaign in 2013.

Under their new head coach Bill Poe, the Northwest Texans are picked fourth in 5-6A. State champion Denton Guyer is the choice to win the league followed by Keller Fossil Ridge and Denton Ryan. Byron Nelson is picked sixth in the eight-team district.

The Boyd Yellowjackets were picked second in 4-3A Division I behind Breckenridge. Bowie was tabbed third, Brock fourth, Ponder fifth and Paradise sixth. Boyd quarterback Clay Barnett was picked as the league’s preseason offensive MVP.

“Looking at the district, anyone can beat anyone,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “It’ll be such a competitive district. Anything can happen.”

In the 5-2A Division I, Alvord was tabbed to grab the district title behind preseason offensive MVP Joe Randall, who ran for 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Chico was picked second led by preseason defensive MVP Hagan Davis.

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Eagles, new staff prepare for upcoming season

Justin Myers admitted he was a little sore after his workout Thursday morning that concluded the first week of Decatur’s summer conditioning program.

“We’re sore in the morning after working out, but I feel we’re getting better,” said Myers, who will battle for the Eagles starting quarterback job.

Extra Work

EXTRA WORK – Decatur athletes run a couple of extra sprints Thursday following the final workout of the week. Ninety Decatur athletes took part in the summer conditioning camp at the field house this week. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Myers joined approximately 90 athletes between grades seven and 12 for the two-hour workouts this week at the Decatur field house under the direction of new Eagles football coach and athletic director Mike Fuller.

“Our average daily attendance has been about 90,” Fuller said. “Next week we should be over 100.

“I’m pleased. My hope is they put themselves through it and see the benefit.”

The workouts have focused on building strength in the weight room, while also getting outside and working on speed and agility.

Fuller said the outside drills have been divided between vertical speed and agility drills with a lot of cutting. In the weight room, he and his staff have worked with athletes on technique along with getting the general strengthening exercises in.

“It’s pretty intense,” Fuller said. “It’s different from offseason workouts during the school year. You get more time and can recover between drills. But we’re going for two hours.”

Myers and Jacob Kevetter agreed the workouts are intense.

“The coaches are really pushing us,” Kevetter said. “The intensity is better than last year. We’ve had a good turnout.”

Along with building strength and speed, the conditioning program has allowed the new coaching staff a chance to get to know their young athletes before the start of fall workouts in August.

“That’s huge. We get to know the kids and develop relationships,” Fuller said. “That’s the key to developing a good program.”

Myers said within this first week there’s already been a nice rapport with the new coaches.

“I really like them. The coaches are already joking around with us,” Myers said.

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In the end zone; Cardona scores on first carry in Oil Bowl

In the end zone; Cardona scores on first carry in Oil Bowl

Fino Cardona’s first carry Saturday night in the Oil Bowl ended like 64 of his rushes during his record-setting career at Boyd – in the end zone.

Cardona scored from 21 yards out with 7:33 left in the third quarter of the West team’s 28-0 win in the 2014 Oil Bowl Classic at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium.

Off to the Races

OFF TO THE RACES – Boyd’s Fino Cardona turns the corner on his way to the end zone during the Oil Bowl Saturday. The Yellowjacket carried the ball three times for 38 yards in the West team’s 28-0 victory. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

“They handed me off the ball and a lineman broke through the line. I stiff-armed him and then broke down the sideline, untouched,” Cardona said.

The recent Boyd graduate carried the ball three times for 38 yards, finishing as his team’s third leading rusher. Carlos Fleeks of Wichita Falls Rider led all rushers with 98 yards on 10 attempts with a touchdown. Fleeks was the game’s Offensive MVP.

Cardona, who ran for a school-best 4,641 yards and 64 touchdowns over three seasons for the Yellowjackets, was thrilled to be back on the field.

“It felt amazing. It was awesome to play again,” Cardona said. “I felt I could hang with all of them.”

Cardona entered the all-star game hoping to land a spot on a college roster in the fall. He said he will go to McMurry University in Abilene Friday for a visit.

“I talked with them before I went,” Cardona said.

Mainly, Cardona wants a chance to stay on the field.

“I love the feeling and the competitiveness,” he said.

A pair of Northwest Texans – lineman Kris Key and cornerback and running back Dennis Adrole – also saw action for the West squad. Adrole carried the ball four times for 21 yards.

Plowing a Path

PLOWING A PATH – Northwest graduate Kris Key makes a block during the Oil Bowl Saturday as his teammate Dennis Adrole (7) runs by on a route. The West squad won the game 28-0. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

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Boyd, Alvord compete for state bids

Sixteen teams will vie for the two spots into the Texas 7-on-7 Championships Saturday as one of the final state qualifiers.

Boyd and Alvord will be the only two Wise County teams in the tournament that starts at 9 a.m. They are both in Pool A with Bells and Mineral Wells.

The top team from each pool advances to the semifinals. The semifinal winners earn state berths.

Games will be played at Yellowjacket Stadium and the old football field.

The state tournament is July 10-12 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.

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Cardona hopes to impress scouts

Cardona hopes to impress scouts

Fino Cardona returns to the gridiron Saturday, hoping to land a chance to play on the next level.

The recent Boyd High School graduate will play for the West squad in the Oil Bowl at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

Running After a Chance

RUNNING AFTER A CHANCE – Boyd’s Fino Cardona will show his skills to scouts Saturday in the Oil Bowl. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Cardona led the Yellowjackets in rushing the past three seasons, gaining a school record 4,641 yards and scoring 64 touchdowns. Last season with defenses concentrating on him, he still rushed for 1,674 yards and 21 scores to help the Yellowjackets to the playoffs.

“It was difficult at first but I got used to it,” Cardona said. “You either adjust or your season goes down the drain. I adjusted and we made the playoffs when a lot of people said we wouldn’t.”

Cardona rushed for more than 200 yards in three games and cracked the century mark in eight of Boyd’s 11 contests.

As he piled up yards during the season, Cardona said he regularly heard from college recruiters. But once Boyd’s season ended in November with a bi-district loss to Van Alstyne, he said a lot of correspondence stopped.

“College coaches were talking to me a lot during the season but after the season it dropped off,” he said.

He’s fielded a few offers from Division III schools to play, but Cardona said the tuition was out of his price range.

“They were really expensive and I couldn’t afford that,” he said.

Cardona hopes to carry the ball Saturday and get the opportunity to turn some heads.

“I’m getting a shot to show people what I’ve got,” he said. “I want to show that I can play with the big boys.”

Since November, Cardona has been focused on conditioning and improving his strength for a chance to play in college.

“I’ve been running and trying to get faster and stronger,” he said.

Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins expects Cardona to get a chance to play in college.

“He can definitely play somewhere and be an asset,” Hopkins said. “He has a lot of ability. Even at our level, you don’t put up the numbers he did without some ability.”

While he wants to run the ball Saturday, Cardona also wouldn’t mind get a few chances on the defensive side. He played cornerback for Boyd this year, picking off a pass and making 13 tackles.

“I like both. I wouldn’t be upset to play some on defense,” he said.

Cardona will be joined by a pair of Northwest players on the West team – cornerback Dennis Adrole and offensive lineman Kris Key. Both Texans will play at Southwestern Oklahoma next year.

The West team also includes Bowie quarterback Garland McCoy, who is headed to Texas Lutheran.

Weatherford coach Weldon Nelms will lead the West team.

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Upcoming Sports Camps

DECATUR FOOTBALL CAMP – Decatur football coach Mike Fuller and his staff will hold the Decatur Eagles Football Camp 7 to 9 p.m. June 9-12 at Eagle Stadium. Registration for players in grades two through six is $70, and $50 for each additional family member.

DECATUR GIRLS BASKETBALL CAMP – Billy Garner and his staff will hold a pair of instruction sessions June 16-19 at the Decatur High School gym. The first session for girls in grades two through five will be 10 a.m. to noon and costs $60. The second session for players in grades six through nine is 1 to 3 p.m. and costs $65.

DECATUR EAGLE HOOPS CAMPS – Decatur basketball coach Drew Coffman has scheduled a pair of hoops camps June 23-26 and July 14-17 at the high school. On those dates, he will offer three sessions. The 8:30-10 a.m. session is for players between first and third grade. The 10 a.m. to noon slot is for players in grades four through six. The 1-3 p.m. session is for players in grades seven to nine. The cost is $55 for players below fourth grade and $65 for others.

DECATUR SOFTBALL CAMP – Carly Cloud will hold a softball camp June 23-26 at the Decatur softball field.

BOYD VOLLEYBALL CAMPS – A pair of volleyball camps with Jennifer Pennington will be held at Boyd this summer. A camp for fourth- through sixth-graders will be 4 to 6 p.m. June 9-11. Registration is $40. Pennington will also hold skills camps for middle school players 10 a.m. to noon July 28-30, and for high schoolers 1 to 4 p.m. on those dates. The middle school camp is $60 and high school session $75.

BRIDGEPORT CAMPS – Several Bridgeport coaches will offer sports camps this summer. The girls basketball camp will be June 9-12. The boys basketball camp is set for June 16-19. The volleyball camp is slated for July 28-Aug. 1.

BRIDGEPORT ATHLETIC PHYSICALS – Physicals will be offered for $20 at the Bridgeport High School Training Room July 24. Girls are to report at 5 p.m. and boys at 6 p.m. All athletes entering grades seven, nine and 11 must have a physical before the first day of practice for their sport. Any athlete that had a broken bone, concussion, major illness or surgery in the past 12 months must also get a physical.

DRAGON BASEBALL CAMP – Chico baseball coach Brian McBeth will hold a camp for players between grades two and nine from 9-11:30 a.m. June 9-12 at the Dragon Baseball Field in Chico. The camp is $30.

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Barnett hopes to build on year

Barnett hopes to build on year

Clay Barnett gained valuable experience last year, taking over at quarterback as a sophomore for the Boyd Yellowjackets.

The soon-to-be junior said he is ready to build upon that promising season in which he threw for 1,083 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Making a Pick

MAKING A PICK – Alvord’s Joe Randall flies in to make an interception during Thursday’s 7-on-7 game against Boyd at Bridgeport. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

He showed some of his growth Thursday in a 40-13 win over Alvord in the Wise County 7-on-7 League.

Barnett completed 18 of his 27 attempts with four touchdowns, although he also threw two interceptions.

“I’ve gotten a lot better with my arm strength and accuracy,” Barnett said. “This year will be a lot more promising.”

He said the game has slowed down a little for him.

“I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve got to find a way to get the team down the field and make better decisions,” Barnett said.

After throwing a touchdown pass to Jackson Basting on Boyd’s first possession, Barnett threw into coverage and had the ball intercepted by Alvord’s Joe Randall on the second drive.

On Boyd’s third possession, Barnett put a perfect touch on the ball and hit Xavier Kyle on corner route for a score.

The Boyd defense intercepted four passes for 12 of the Yellowjackets’ 40 points.

“We have a tight defense,” Barnett said. “They should be really strong.”

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Fuller adds to Eagles staff; 4 Decatur assistants to stay on job

Decatur High School Athletic Director and head football coach Mike Fuller is moving closer to completing his coaching staff.

He has added defensive coordinator Tony Roth, offensive coordinator Brian Blair and receivers coach Ty Lang. He plans to take three more coaches to the school board for approval Monday.

“I feel good about the staff,” Fuller said Thursday. “I’ve still got one more spot to fill.”

Fuller is retaining four high school football coaches from his predecessor Kyle Story’s staff – defensive line coach Jack Reeves, running backs coach Jim Cain, offensive line coach Scott Warner and trainer Fernando Escobar.

Roth, Blair and Lang were with Fuller at Colleyville Heritage.

“It feels great that guys I’ve been working with wanted to come with me,” Fuller said. “They are great with kids and are really hard workers.”

He added that it will help him implement new systems on both sides of the ball faster. Roth is already on the job.

“It’s a huge advantage. When I went to Colleyville in 2007, I was only able to take one guy with me,” Fuller said. “They can let other guys know what I expect and what I’m taking about.”

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Myers starts work toward winning job in fall

As the Decatur’s backup quarterback last year, Justin Myers threw 20 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. He also added 291 yards on the ground and four scores.

Heading into the 2014 season, he is hoping to take over the job full-time.

Making a Play

MAKING A PLAY – Decatur’s Carson Medlin knocks away a ball on defense during the Eagles’ 7-on-7 game against Paradise Thursday in Bridgeport. Decatur beat Paradise and fell to Springtown Thursday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Myers led Decatur to a split Thursday in its two 7-on-7 games. Decatur beat Paradise 21-14 and fell to Springtown 24-21.

STRONG THROW – Decatur’s Justin Myers turns loose a pass during Thursday’s 7-on-7 game. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Myers was 15-for-22 with three touchdowns against Paradise. Against Springtown, he was 7-for-21 with three scores and an interception.

“This helps a lot,” Myers said. “It’s hard to get live action with the guys.

“I need to make sure I keep working on my form and use my whole body when I throw.”

Myers said he’s been working with TCU-bound Grayson Muehlstein, last year’s starter, to prepare for the fall.

“He’s been helping me a lot,” Myers said.

Myers is also learning the Eagles’ new offense under head coach Mike Fuller and offensive coordinator Brian Blair.

“It’s pretty similar to what we did last year,” Myers said. “Last year, we had a lot of three out. This has a lot [four receiver sets].”

Against Paradise, Myers hit several underneath routs and a few outs on the sidelines.

In the second game of the night, he missed on his first four passes – three going deep down the middle of the field.

Myers led Decatur to a touchdown on the second possession against Springtown with a pass up top to Ryan Durdon. Decatur scored again on its fourth time with the ball.

His lone interception of the night came on a pass in the middle of the field.

With the Eagles down 24-14, Myers hit on a deep pass in the middle of the field for a touchdown on his final throw of the night.

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Gantt signs letter to play at Howard Payne

Hunter Gantt led the Bridgeport Bulls in receiving and rushing in 2013.

Gantt hauled in 62 passes for 503 yards and five scores. He added 223 yards rushing and another five touchdowns.

Signing On

SIGNING ON – Bridgeport’s Hunter Gantt inked a letter of intent with Howard Payne Monday. He was joined by his parents Dalene and Matt Gantt and Bridgeport coach Danny Henson. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The versatile Gantt will now try to carve out a spot in the Howard Payne University offense. Gantt inked a letter of intent with the NCAA Division III school Monday.

“On my first visit down there, I got the impression that everything was about family,” Gantt said. “It’s a place where I can apply myself and become a better person.”

Gantt was a District 9-3A pick at receiver this past year.

“He did a great job for us his junior and senior year,” said Bridgeport coach Danny Henson. “He had to play a lot of different positions and be a versatile player for us.”

Gantt said moving on to the next level is a big opportunity.

“Not a lot of people get this opportunity,” he said. “It’s special to get a chance to play college football.

“The game is going to be faster. They have a very high-powered offense. I’ll have to pick up the offense. I’ll need a lot more endurance and be more consistent.”

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Schulte signs with Howard Payne

Cameron Schulte knows only one speed on the football field – and sometimes it became a little too much during the Boyd Yellowjackets’ practices.

“He’s a tough-nosed kid that plays hard every down,” said coach Brandon Hopkins. “Sometimes it was too hard in practice. We’d have to ask him to bring it down to keep someone from getting hurt.”

Signing On

SIGNING ON – Boyd senior Cameron Schulte inks his letter of intent with Howard Payne Friday. The Yellowjacket made 77 tackles for Boyd this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

But that approach earned the Boyd senior a chance to continue his football career next year at Howard Payne University in Brownwood. Schulte signed with the NCAA Division III school this week.

“I’m going to college because I go hard every play,” Schulte said. “You’ve got to push your teammates.”

Schulte started two seasons at outside linebacker for the Yellowjackets. He made 77 tackles this past year to earn 9-2A and All-Wise honors.

“He’s one of the better linebackers to come through here lately,” Hopkins said. “He’s a good tackler. He’s real aggressive and is a strong kid.”

At Boyd, Schulte played outside linebacker in the Yellowjackets’ 4-3. Howard Payne plays a 3-4.

“I’ll probably be playing an inside linebacker there,” he said. “I may not play the first couple of years. I’ve got to come in and pay my dues.”

Schulte said he picked Howard Payne because of its location and its graduate assistant program.

“It’s far enough away without being too far,” he said. “I liked the school. It’s got a good graduate assistant program. I want to be a coach in high school after college.”

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Northwest narrows field to four

Northwest officials are planning to swiftly find the Texans’ next head football coach and athletic coordinator.

Northwest ISD Executive Athletic Director Susan Elza said via text Monday that she plans to “take a name to the board on April 14.”

She added that four candidates are interviewing for the job.

The new coach will replace Bill Patterson, who left Northwest last week to take the head coaching job at Sherman. Patterson spent five seasons on the Northwest sidelines posting a record of 23-30 and making three playoff appearances. The Texans went 8-3 in the past two seasons and fell in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Elza previously said the district wanted to get the new coach in place soon. The Texans are slated to start spring football practice April 22.

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Patterson leaves for Sherman; Texans’ coach leaves with 23-30 record

After five seasons on the Northwest Texans’ sidelines, head coach Bill Patterson is leaving.

Patterson, who led the Texans to three playoff appearances, accepted the head football coaching job at Sherman Monday.

“I feel like Sherman is a place you can go and have a chance to win a state championship,” Patterson said Monday night. “They have good players and a tradition of having good football teams.”

Making a Winner

MAKING A WINNER – In five seasons at Northwest, Bill Patterson went 23-30 and posted a pair of 8-3 campaigns the past two years. He accepted a job at Sherman Monday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Patterson added that he was drawn by the fact that Sherman is a “one-school town.”

Northwest ISD currently has two high schools and is building a third.

Patterson takes over a Sherman team that went 4-6 last season and missed the playoffs. He replaces Gary Joe Kinne.

Sherman will be a 5A school, sharing District 10 with Denison, McKinney, McKinney North, Lovejoy, Prosper, Wylie and Wylie East. Northwest will be in the new Class 6A.

Patterson leaves Northwest with a record of 23-30. After his first squad went winless in 2009, he guided the Texans to the playoffs in 2010. The Texans went 8-3 the past two seasons and lost in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs.

“We’re the only team to go back-to-back to the playoffs,” he said. “It’s been a great five years. I’ve enjoyed working with Coach [Susan] Elza (Northwest ISD Executive Director of Athletics) and the staff here. I had two kids graduate from Northwest. It’ll always be a special place.”

Under Patterson, the Texans dominated the Keller schools the past two years, going 7-1.

“The credit goes to the players,” he said. “We’ve had a great group of kids to work with.”

Elza gave praise to Patterson for his work in the district.

“To me, he changed the culture of football at Northwest,” she said. “He’s taken it to a level it’s never been at. We’re appreciative of his efforts.

“The only thing we fell short of was winning that first playoff game. That’s the goal going into next year.”

Elza said she talked with Northwest football players Tuesday.

“I told them there’s no plan to take a step backwards,” she said.

With spring practice slated to begin April 22, Elza said the district will look to get a new coach in place soon.

“We will try to get it in by the April 14 board meeting,” she said.

The district posted the opening Tuesday and will accept resumes from candidates through Friday. Elza said she plans to start the interviewing process with four to six candidates next week.

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Fuller starts job at Decatur

Mike Fuller introduced himself to his new players at Decatur High School Monday and spoke briefly.

“I told them who I was, what I’m about and my expectations,” said the new Decatur football coach and athletic director. “I want them working hard and competing in everything they do.”

The Decatur school board hired Fuller last Thursday to take over for Kyle Story, who left in February to start the program at Frisco Independence High School. Fuller comes to Decatur after seven years at Colleyville Heritage.

He said he was impressed with the work he saw in offseason on his first day Monday.

“They are working their tails off. Everyone is positive and encouraging each other,” Fuller said.

Along with meeting his players, Fuller is working to meet the current staff. He said he’s met with football, basketball, track and middle school coaches.

“I have a few more people to meet,” Fuller said.

He will be making recommendations for staffing soon. He plans to bring in new offensive and defensive coordinators after Jayson Lavender and Nick Stokes headed to Frisco to join Story’s staff.

Fuller said he will bring in Tony Roth to serve as defensive coordinator – the job he held at Colleyville Heritage.

“My philosophy in building a staff is hiring the absolute best people, even if they coach the same position,” Fuller said. “Find the best people and then assign them.”

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DISD hires new AD

DISD hires new AD

Mike Fuller is the new leader of the Eagles.

After taking Colleyville Heritage to seven straight playoff appearances and compiling a record of 60-19, Fuller accepted the head football coach and athletic director job at Decatur Thursday night.

Fuller said the small-town atmosphere and a chance to be an athletic director drew him to Decatur and away from his 5A job in Colleyville.

Signed and Sealed

SIGNED AND SEALED – With his family and DISD Superintendent Rod Townsend looking on, Mike Fuller inks his contract Thursday as Decatur’s new head football coach and athletic director. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I have heard nothing but fantastic things about this community,” Fuller said. “It’s an opportunity to be an athletic director and still coach football, which has been a goal of mine for a while. I love the one town, one community and one high school atmosphere.”

Fuller replaces Kyle Story, who left the district in February to become the first football coach at Frisco Independence High School, which will open in the fall.

The district had 144 applicants for the opening and interviewed eight candidates.

“The talent pool was extremely deep,” said Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend. “We had 144 applicants, and there was probably 40 of those that you would have been satisfied with. As we narrowed it down to eight, it was tough. He continued to come to the top.”

Trustee Alan White served on the committee that interviewed the eight candidates and recommended Fuller.

“He blew the committee away and was by far the No. 1 choice,” White said. “He obviously has a passion for helping kids and working with kids. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been. He came highly recommended.”

Fuller comes to Decatur with a career record of 109-49 in 14 seasons split at Colleyville Heritage and Coppell.

“He’s got an impressive coaching history,” said school board president Kevin Haney. “He has a great winning history, in addition to that he is a classy guy. I think he’ll fit in well in the community. He’ll work well with all the different athletic programs and coaches and will keep things running smoothly. He seems to be really organized and a good problem solver.

“He’s a coach’s son and lived in communities like Decatur growing up. He wants to be back in a community,” Haney added. “He is a sharp guy with high ethics and morals. That’s important. We’re not just developing athletes. We’re developing young people into people that can contribute to society.”

Fuller spent parts of his childhood in Seymour, Iowa Park and Windthorst before graduating from Arlington High School.

“Truthfully, I’ve been longing to live in a smaller town rather than the big city,” Fuller said. “I grew up in some smaller towns when I was young. I’ve coached in nothing but 4 and 5A schools.”

Fuller played football at Abilene Christian University from 1988 to 1993, starting at quarterback for three seasons. He also pitched a season at ACU.

He made coaching stops at Harlingen, Conroe and Irving MacArthur before heading to Coppell as the offensive coordinator in 1997. He took over as head coach of the program in 2000, going 49-30 with five playoff appearances in seven years.

Fuller went to Colleyville Heritage in 2007.

“There were a lot of different things that made him stand out,” Townsend said. “He is a class act. The experience that he has at all levels. He’s grown up in smaller districts and gone to school in those small districts. He’s lived and worked in larger districts. He brought a very diverse resume to us. He’s proven and has a great record.”

At Colleyville Heritage, his teams ran a fast-pace offense. During a 8-3 campaign last year, the Panthers averaged 361 yards per game. The team averaged 450 yards per game in 2012, going 11-2.

“I like to go fast,” he said. “We can slow it down if we need to. I’ve had the same system for the last eight or nine years.”

He expects to have similar success at Decatur as in his previous stops.

“We’re going to put a program in place to get kids to compete as hard as they can for their school and teammates in every sport,” Fuller said.

Fuller plans to bring several members of his staff at Heritage to Decatur.

“I worked with a great group of guys that did a great job of getting the most out of kids,” he said.

The work starts Monday for the new coach.


PLAYING EXPERIENCE – Football captain and all-district quarterback at Arlington High School, three-year starter and quarterback at Abilene Christian University

OFFENSIVE COACHING EXPERIENCE – Varsity quarterbacks coach at Harlingen High School, varsity receiver caoch at Conroe High School, varsity running backs coach at MacArthur High School, varsity offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Coppell High School

HEAD COACHING EXPERIENCE – Head football coach/boys athletic coordinator at Coppell High School with a district record of 31-14 and an overall record of 49-30, Head football coach/boys athletic coordinator at Colleyville Heritage High School with a district record of 43-8 and an overall record of 60-19

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Decatur to name coach; Selection set for Thursday

Decatur will name its new athletic director and head football coach Thursday.

The Decatur school board will meet at 6 p.m. to name the new coach.

Superintendent Rod Townsend and a committee with three board members were to meet with the two finalists – a 5A head football coach and a Class A head coach – Tuesday and Wednesday.

The new coach will replace Kyle Story, who left in February to become the first head coach at Frisco Independence.

Story had been the head coach and athletic director in Decatur since July 1999.

Townsend said the new coach will get the opportunity to bring in new staff members after evaluating the current coaches.

The new coach will be bringing in coordinators. Decatur’s offensive coordinator Jayson Lavender had previously resigned. Tuesday in a text message, defensive coordinator Nick Stokes said he told players he was also headed to Frisco with Story.

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Work to find coach begins; 144 apply for Decatur job

Superintendent Rod Townsend and the other four members of the search committee started poring over resumes Thursday, working to pick out eight candidates to interview for the Decatur head football coach and athletic director job.

One hundred forty-four coaches submitted applications for the current opening before the district stopped accepting resum s Tuesday, according to Townsend.

“It was what I expected,” Townsend said. “I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were a few more. The location of Decatur and the quality of the school district entices a lot of people. There’s potential for growth and applicants can look at what we’ve accomplished this past year.

“An AD wants a program that can win across the board.”

The new hire will take the place of Kyle Story, who finished his 15-year tenure at Decatur Friday. He is beginning his new job as the head football coach and campus coordinator at Frisco Independence High School, which will open in the fall.

Story’s first task at the new job is to hire 39 coaches. He expects to bring Decatur offensive coordinator Jayson Lavender with him when his hiring becomes official Monday.

Townsend said no Decatur coaches other than Story had resigned as of Wednesday. Also no one on the current staff applied for the head coaching job.

“No one within applied,” Townsend said.

The applicants ranged from current head coaches from Class A to 5A. Townsend said there were also coordinators from 4A and 5A schools who applied.

“It’s a good cross-section of coaches,” Townsend said. “There’s at least two to four head coaches at every level.”

Townsend will work with the other members of the search team – High School Principal Jason Cochran, Middle School Principal Dewayne Tamplen and community members Derrick Boyd and James McAlister – to pick out eight names to interview next March 6-7. Townsend said the group will then narrow the selection to three for another round of interviews that will include school board members March 24-27.

“Hopefully we’ll have a called meeting between the 27th and 31st to name a lone finalist,” Townsend said.

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