• August 30, 2014

Slow down and find right coach

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Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013 4:30 am

“You can hire logic, in the shape of a lawyer, to prove anything that you want to prove.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table”

Two years ago, Killeen Independent School District was backed into a corner when longtime Shoemaker head football coach Ken Gray opted to retire.

Following a turnstile interview process that saw 19 candidates breeze through the KISD central offices for interviews in a single day, Channon Hall was hired July 1, 2011. Hall reinvigorated the Grey Wolves athletic program, but still the hire only resulted in three wins in two seasons.

Now, following the surprise resignation of Harker Heights head coach Mike Mullins on June 18, KISD is once again pressed to pull the trigger on another shotgun hire.

After receiving 33 applications by Monday’s midnight deadline, KISD’s hiring committee is set to interview six coaches for the opening, bringing in three on Wednesday and three more today.

Today is also the last day state school professionals can opt of out an employment contract without school board approval.

KISD will probably make a hire today, but regardless of who is tasked with leading the Knights’ athletic program, hiring that person now would not be prudent.

Given the extreme time constraints working against KISD and a shallow applicant pool, the district’s best move is to name an interim head coach and let the process carry into next season.

After participating in spring ball, the Knights will start preseason fall practices in exactly one month (Aug. 12). The hire, if not one of the current Heights assistants who applied, will have less than 30 days to implement a new system or learn what was installed by the prior staff.

Neither options are appealing.

Killeen Deputy Superintendent John Craft has said on multiple occasions he’s seeking the “right fit” for Harker Heights.

But what if the “right fit” isn’t available right now?

With 33 applicants, 58 less than what was received for Ellison in December after former coach Buddy McBryde resigned shortly after last season ended, the likelihood that the best person to lead the Knights is among those who applied is slim.

Designating one of Heights’ coordinators as an interim head coach and promoting girls athletic coordinator Michelle Womack to interim athletic coordinator, frees up KISD to actually get the “right fit.”

It also allows a deserving coordinator the opportunity to prove himself in a trial-by-fire situation without the pressure of necessarily being hired.

In the meantime, KISD could reopen the job search at another time period when more candidates are likely to be available or take time to target the ideal candidate.

With time of the essence, why not create a little more to broaden the school’s options?

The move makes so much sense, it’s a wonder what’s taking so long to make it.

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