Following a series of interviews, five finalists have been selected for the vacant position of head football coach at Sherman High School.
Four of the five are widely known through coaching circles; one finalist is not yet known and attempts to contact personnel in the Sherman ISD headquarters this week were unsuccessful as the school is in spring break.
This much is known: All five are current head coaches, and one is a former finalist who changed his mind after being hired by Sherman more than a decade ago. One is a former defensive coordinator for the Bearcats.
Interviews with the district were completed on Monday, and the winning nominee is expected to be voted upon as early as next week, but no later than the SISD board of trustees’ March 24 regular monthly meeting.
The finalists were chosen by Champions Search Firm out of more than 50 total applications for the job. The firm, which was founded by former Southlake Carroll coach and athletic director Bob Ledbetter, screened the applications and conducted its own series of initial interviews with the top 12 to 15 candidates before narrowing the list of finalists to five and sending those to SISD superintendent Al Hambrick and athletic director Tommy Hudspeth.
The Sherman job has been vacant since Jan. 17, when former head coach Gary Kinne resigned after five mostly-successful but turbulent seasons.
Hudspeth, the former head football coach and administrator who returned to Sherman on an interim basis in November after Kinne was stripped of his AD duties, will continue to serve as AD for the foreseeable future.
The four known finalists for the head coaching job at Sherman are, listed alphabetically:
Jim Garfield, WF Rider
Garfield, who was defensive coordinator for former Rider head coach Scott Ponder, was promoted to head coach in 2010 after Ponder left for Iowa Park. Coincidentally, Ponder now coaches just down the road at Class 2A Bells.
Under Garfield, the Raiders have gone 39-15 with an advance to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals in 2012 and two other visits to the state quarterfinals. Garfield also coached at Eastern New Mexico, Socorro (N.M.) High School and Midwestern State before becoming an assistant at Rider under Rhudy Maskew, according to the Wichita Falls Times Record News.
Garfield left in 2001 to become head coach at Corpus Christi Flour Bluff, but returned to Rider after one 3-7 season.
Jason Heath, Anna
Heath was defensive coordinator under Drew Young at Sherman from 2003-08 and a Bearcat assistant coach for 11 years total under three different head coaches — Ronnie Tipps, Young and Kinne. With Heath aboard, the Bearcats made a deep run to the Class 4A Division I state semifinals in 2004.
Heath remained on staff for one year after Young retired and Kinne took over as head coach, then went to Longview Spring Hill in 2010, where he was defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach.
For the last two seasons, Heath has been head coach at Anna, going 9-12 and making the Class 3A Division I playoffs last season, upsetting district co-champion Princeton on Oct. 25. Heath added the title of Anna athletic director last year.
Bill Patterson, Justin Northwest
Patterson was initially tapped for the Sherman job 11 years ago after Tipps’ departure, but Patterson withdrew a day after the board voted by a narrow 4-3 margin to hire him. Five days later, the board unanimously promoted Tipps’ defensive coordinator, Young.
Only one board member, Cathy Renshaw, remains from the 2003 vote.
Patterson has been head coach at Justin Northwest since 2009. He was at Garland Naaman Forest at the time of his first flirtation with Sherman in 2003.
A Lubbock native and graduate of Texas Tech who briefly played tight end at Angelo State, Patterson has extensive college coaching experience at Vanderbilt, West Alabama and UTEP. He was head coach at Canyon High School from 1996-99, winning 26 games and going four rounds deep in his final year before taking over at Naaman Forest.
Todd York, Kaufman
York has a state championship ring, winning Class 2A Division I with Corrigan-Camden in 2002. He has coached at Class 3A Kaufman since 2006 and has a 50-40 overall mark there, with a state quarterfinal appearance in 2008 that resulted in a loss to eventual state runner-up Celina.
The Lions have made postseason appearances in six of York’s eight seasons, and he was voted District 14-3A Coach of the Year by his peers in 2013.
York has a total of 22 years of teaching experience and 148 career wins as a head coach. He is a graduate of Tarleton State, where he earned a Masters of Education degree.
Prior to taking over at Kaufman, York was head coach at nearby Terrell from 2003-05 with a 10-2 campaign in 2005 and playoff trips all three years; and at Corrigan-Camden from 1994-2002 with a 76-29 mark.