Salado has found its man in Brent Graham.
After an exhaustive and extensive search that included 153 applicants and 43 initial interviews, the Salado Independent School District will vote on the recommendation of Graham as the Eagles' next athletic director and head football coach at a special school board meeting today at 7 p.m.
Graham, 35, was entering his fifth season as the defensive coordinator at Class 4A Sherman, which has been in the playoffs each of his four seasons (2009-12), including three straight area-round appearances and a 4A state quarterfinal run in 2011.
Salado's other three finalists were all current head coaches in 1A Axtell athletic director Mike Cadell, 4A Bastrop athletic director Gerald Perry and 2A Maypearl athletic director Tony Johnson.
Prior to Sherman, Graham spent two years (2007-08) as the recruiting coordinator, secondary coach and director of football operations at the University of Tulsa, where he worked under his uncle, current Arizona State head coach Todd Graham.
Prior to Tulsa, Graham was the athletic director and head coach at Tom Bean for one year after spending two years as the defensive coordinator at Mesquite Poteet.
The hiring process picked up traction this past week after 15 candidates were brought in for a second round of interviews Monday and Tuesday. A third round of interviews with the four finalists was held Thursday and the selection committee finished checking references later in the evening.
The position, vacated when former athletic director Glenn Talbott resigned Feb. 13 after being unable to come to an agreement with Novotny on the direction of the program, received 153 total applications. From that initial list, 43 candidates were brought in for the first round of interviews, which took place over several days between March 6-13.