Since Mickey Finley told the Times-Review in October he would not return as head coach of the Cleburne High School football team, interest in the position has been raised statewide.

Finley resigned Nov. 21 after compiling a 4-26 record over three seasons.

Cleburne ISD Assistant Superintendent Joe Ripple said he is excited about the progress made so far in the process to replace Finley, who also served as athletic director.

“As of right now, we’ve had over 100 applicants for the position,” Ripple said. “We’ve got it listed on the Texas High School Coaches’ Association as a combined athletic director and football coach position, and we’re going to keep it open as that until we find the person that has the best fit for Cleburne athletics.”

The application and hiring process can be complicated and confusing, but Ripple said he believes the process can attract good candidates.

“The search committee will start screening all of our applicants and begin to narrow down the list when we come back from the break on Jan. 2,” Ripple said.

The search committee consists of Ripple, CISD Superintendent Robert Damron, CHS Principal Justin Marchel and Cleburne Middle School Principal Riley Dunn.

“The committee will be looking to narrow all of the applicants down to four candidates,” Ripple said. “We’ll present those candidates to the [school] board, and the board will review them.”

“The board has the option to interview as many of those four candidates as they’d like, or they can go with the recommendation of the committee, or they can veto all four and tell us to go back to the drawing board,” Ripple said.

The presentation of candidates can be made anytime, depending on the timeline the committee deems necessary.

The timeline is still up in the air, but Ripple hopes a decision can be made before the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment Feb. 2.

“We’re hoping to get it done before realignment, and we’re going to make every effort we can to make sure that happens. We’re going to hit it hard,” Ripple said.

Based on a preliminary overview of the applicants, Ripple said he is pleased with the crop of potential candidates for the position.

“We’ve had an excellent mix of experienced head coaches and coordinators apply,” Ripple said. “There are coaches from the 5A level all the way down to Class A. There’s the whole spectrum.”

“It shows that the tradition of Cleburne athletics is still alive all across the state, and I’m extremely impressed in the number of quality applicants that have applied for the job,” Ripple added.

Josh Manck can be reached

at 817-645-2441, ext. 2335,


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