By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
“I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” –Paul “Bono” Hewson, U2
Sing it for San Benito, Bono! Because finding the words to describe my frustration in the process of selecting a new head football coach and athletic director for the Greyhounds has become too daunting a task, so much that I opted to recite lyrics from a classic U2 song rather than depress myself with my own words. It is, after all, exactly how it all began on Thursday Bloody Thursday (see what I did there?): closing my eyes and exhaling in disbelief after hearing that Patrick Brown bowed out of consideration.
My initial reaction was to chronologically run through the events that transpired leading up to Brown’s withdrawal—this in an effort to discover exactly how it all went wrong.
Okay, so Spencer Gantt resigns as the head football coach for the San Benito Greyhounds in January. The job is posted immediately thereafter on the school district website and via Region One.
The San Benito CISD Board of Trustees then opts to hire a search firm, first deciding on Texas high school coaching legend Rusty Dowling before opting for Champions Consulting at a $10,000 flat rate, which occurred after the former decided to split.
Fifty-two applicants are received by the district for Champions to evaluate and vet (I hope). Still, despite the large amount of hopefuls who applied for the Greyhound gig, there was some initial disappointment because several big name coaches were nowhere on the list. Since applicants such as Monty Stumbaugh, Joe Solis and Rudy Gonzalez carried more weight than most in the Valley, some forgave what others claimed was a mediocre-heavy list.
The process of narrowing down the list of applicants proved tricky. Officially, the list of finalists contained 12 names that were all interviewed by the firm. Then there were seven; then five: Stumbaugh, Brown, Gus Cavazos, Daniel Gomez and Jose Gonzales. At that point, interim superintendent Dr. Ismael Cantu, San Benito High School Principal Henry Sanchez and interim AD Ramiro Partida conducted the interviews.
Stumbaugh withdraws. This is a major blow to San Benito as the Port Isabel Tarpons head football coach and former Cuero assistant, who won like a thousand district championships and secured a million state playoff appearances, was thought to have the job in the bag.
That’s five. That’s a big one.
But never fear, Brown, Cavazos, Gomez and Gonzales are still here! …Wait, what? Cavazos bailed too?
That’s six, folks.
Okay, so there have been some issues, but Brown still has potential and looks fantastic on paper, and Gomez has youth and may be a shot in the arm for a new-blood-hungry football program. Naturally, Brown withdrew his name.
The applicants were offered less than $90,000.
I’ve identified at least eight happenings that have plagued the AD hiring process for San Benito: 1.) The search didn’t begin until January, relatively late since most coaches prefer being set in their jobs by that time; 2.) I don’t know exactly what happened, but it wasn’t a good sign that the Board’s first choice for a search firm bailed on us; 3.) We didn’t get the names that other schools, like Sharyland, attracted; 4.) There were too many cooks in the kitchen during the interview process; 5.) Stumbaugh withdrew; 6.) Cavazos withdrew; 7.) Brown withdrew; 8.) You can’t lowball men with pride.
Finally, San Benito got closure on Friday after the Board selected Gomez to head the ’Hounds. And all I can say is thank God this is over. In the meantime, I’d like to welcome Gomez to the fold. May the force be with you.