SALADO — Due to overwhelming interest in the open Salado athletic director position, the Salado Independent School District began the first round of interviews Wednesday, three days before the job posting officially closes Friday.
SISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said his office has received 148 applications for the Eagles’ head football coach and athletic director position as of Wednesday evening, prompting the district’s decision to speed up the process by initiating a first round of interviews over a four-day period beginning Wednesday and ending March 13.
“We’ll go over 150 before the deadline passes and we have an outstanding group of candidates, not just the sheer quantity but the quality as well, which is why we did change the original (interview) process,” Novotny said.
Novotny wasn’t surprised by the sheer volume of interest in leading the highly successful 2A program, which came open after former athletic director and head football coach Glenn Talbott formally resigned Feb. 13
“Ironically, I predicted from the very beginning we were going to hit 150, which I’m coming very close to my prediction,” he said. “Partially, (that’s because) we have an outstanding school district, and a lot of candidates with families and kids that are school-aged are looking for a quality district within to raise and educate their kids. So we’re a very attractive district from that standpoint.”
Originally, the first round of interviews was planned for the week of March 18-22, a second round the following week (March 25-29) with a recommendation to be presented to the Salado school board April 1.
SISD’s hiring committee has already whittled the initial application list to 40 candidates, and plans to interview 10 per day Wednesday, Friday, Monday and next Wednesday, with the potential to interview several more March 14 if any new candidates submit their applications by Friday.
A second round of interviews, for which Novotny hopes to narrow to about 15 candidates, will take place between March 18-20 with finalist interviews tentatively slated for March 25-26. Novotny still hopes to have a final recommendation to be presented to the Salado school board at its April 1 meeting.
There will be three separate selection committees made up of administrators, coaches, parents, teachers and students spread among the three rounds of interviews to provide different perspectives and feedback regarding the interview pool.
Talbott, who had been with the district nine years, resigned last month after he and Novotny couldn’t come to an agreement on the direction of the Eagles’ athletic programs.
Hired in July 2010 to replace longtime athletic director Jeff Cheatam, Talbott was promoted after four years as defensive coordinator, but struggled in two of his three seasons as head football coach, compiling an 8-22 record.
That included a two-year stint in Class 3A where Salado was one of the smallest programs at that level. Following a 1-9 campaign in 2010, the Eagles’ first in 3A. Salado rebounded to finish 5-5 in 2011 but regressed some in a return to 2A, finishing 2-8 this past season.