Glenn Talbott had one vision for Salado athletics. Superintendent Michael Novotny had another.
When the two couldn’t come to an agreement on the direction, the pair decided it was time for a change.
After several months of discussions with Novotny, the Salado athletic director and head football coach formally submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday and broke the news to his shocked athletes Thursday during the school’s athletic period.
“Basically we came to the conclusion that we both needed a change,” Talbott said. “He kind of saw the school going in a different direction than I did, and so we kind of agreed to disagree on that and when that happens, things got to change and I decided to leave.”
Talbott, who spent the last nine years as part of Salado ISD, leaves the program a little half-heartedly having considered resigning for the last several months following a series of meetings with Novotny to discuss the athletic program.
“Let’s put it this way, (Novotny) wanted change, we kind of disagreed on some things that dealt with the program and he’s the boss,” Talbott said.
Novotny, in his second year as Salado’s superintendent, admitted he’d been aware of Talbott’s decision to step down for several weeks.
“Glenn is a great man, a good man, and I appreciate his nine years of service to the district and I wish him the very best in his job search,” Novonty said.
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 when Salado was one of the state’s smallest programs at that level. Following a 1-9 campaign in 2010, the Eagles’ first in 3A, they rebounded to finish 5-5 in 2011 but regressed some in a return to 2A, finishing 2-8 this past season.
“The rough one was last year (2012). We had a frustrating one the year before going 5-5 and coming so close to the playoffs in 3A — wish I could have had that team this year, but we didn’t,” Talbott said.
The job will be posted online today for a three-week application period ending March 8, during which SISD employees and parents can discuss concerns and provide feedback and input regarding the search and selection of Salado’s next athletic director.
A selection committee will then meet to review that feedback, develop a coaching profile and then develop interview questions before reviewing all the applications and determining an interview pool. A first round of interviews is tentatively 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.
“My goal as superintendent is to provide the very best education for all our students ... so as part of providing the best possible education for our students, I want to have the best possible athletic program as well,” Novotny said.
Talbott’s resignation comes a year after Salado parent Ty Hankamer presented a petition “for change” that was reportedly signed by nearly 340 members of the Salado community during a Jan. 16, 2012 school board meeting.
The petition featured an admonishment of the current Salado athletic administration and Talbott specifically, requesting “a change in leadership and program administration.”
The petition listed nine reasons for “change,” claiming everything from bullying by coaches to a perceived overall decrease in the student-athlete population in Salado.
“Certainly we listened to the concerns voiced by the petition over a year ago, and we put together a plan to work on areas of improvement within the athletic program,” Novotny said.
In light of the petition, Novotny created a committee of administrators, athletic staff and parents that reviewed the entire program over the last school year. But in multiple meetings with Talbott that followed, he and Novotny experienced disagreements of opinions regarding the direction the athletic program was heading.
“I do think we have a strong, positive athletic program ... and I think we’ve had a lot of success, but there is always room for improvement,” Novotny said.
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or (254) 501-7566