Copperas Cove V Ellison

Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. is seen on the sideline at Bulldawg Gymnasium during a District 8-6A game against Ellison on Jan. 3, 2017.

Copperas Cove is in the midst of change.

After 24 years of consistency, the Bulldawgs are evolving, and currently, they are virtually unrecognizable to the common fan.

Entering Sunday, there are seven coaching positions posted on the Copperas Cove district website, including two head coaching vacancies with another impending.

And the transformation occurred in less than three months.

Bulldawgs longtime offensive coordinator Tracy Welch was named athletic director and head football coach at Lake Worth in early April, taking a pair of offensive line coaches in Tracy Ranes and Vance McAnally with him. All three were with the program since at least 1994.

Additionally, Ranes was the Lady Bulldawgs athletic coordinator, and McAnally served as the Lady Bulldawgs girls head track coach.

But that was only the beginning.

One month later, Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Welch, who held the position for 24 years, resigned and Ennis head coach Jack Alvarez was hired May 11 to take over the program, and the domino effect started.

In the days since, numerous assistant football coaches have stepped down, and recently, several head coaches followed suit.

On Tuesday, outside linebackers coach and head boys track coach Keith Stifflemire left to take an assistant job with Gatesville.

Stifflemire spent nine years at Copperas Cove.

The position has not been posted on the district’s website, but two others have.

Outside of football, the Bulldawgs are searching for a head basketball coach after Billy White Jr. accepted the role as Copperas Cove High School assistant principal, leaving the program he took over in 2009.

Furthermore, Dusty Brittain, who spent five years as the Bulldawgs’ head baseball coach, departed for the same position at Seguin.

Applications for the head coaching vacancies are being accepted until July 9.

While Copperas Cove is currently in a transitional phase, soon the process will be complete. It has to be.

After forgoing spring practices during Jack Welch’s drawn out route to resigning, the Bulldawgs are approximately six weeks away from the first day of conditioning for the upcoming season on Aug. 6. The first day for full contact is Aug. 11, and scrimmages are permitted beginning Aug. 16.

Copperas Cove opens its schedule Aug. 31, hosting Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, and District 12-6A competition begins Sept. 14 at Belton.

The Bulldawgs produced an overall record of 5-6 in Jack Welch’s final season, returning to the playoffs after a year absence, while Alvarez led Ennis (8-4) to an undefeated district championship before losing to Cedar Park 17-14 in the second round of the Class 5A, Division I playoffs.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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