Muskogee Public Schools Superintendent Mike Garde said Wednesday that both head coaching jobs of the Muskogee High School boys and girls programs should be filled by the end of April.
Garde, who is overseeing the selection process, said that prior to spring break, a total of 12 “viable candidates” had applied for the positions.
“It’s our hope that we can go through an interview process in the month of April on both situations and by the end of the month, have someone in place for both programs,” he said.
Replacements are being sought for boys coach Tony Roach and girls coach Angie Hillmon. Both teams lost in the opening round of the playoffs this season. Roach was told by school officials the week following his team’s loss that his contract was not renewed. Hillmon, according to that same report, resigned and is continuing as track coach.
Garde said the priority in both jobs does not require a large school coaching background.
“We’re looking for someone with a winning record who can express a strong structure that evidences they can build a program and past experience that shows they can do it,” he said.
Roach, a Muskogee assistant from 1994-99 before taking the job in August 2004, had a winning record at Muskogee, 47-45 in four years. He also had a group of supporters who attempted to speak to the Muskogee school board in its last meeting but could not do so because, Garde said, citizens can only speak to the issues on the agenda and the coaching issue was not on it.
“I understand some of them visited with our board members, but our board policy regarding meetings restricts speaking to items on the agenda,” Garde said. “I think the general feeling is that we need to move on and get the program to the level it needed to be.”
Roach said he had visited with Garde after initially being told by athletics director Bobby Jefferson of the change.
“My feeling hasn’t changed and I don’t think there’ll be a change in their decision,” Roach said, noting that he appreciated the support he received from parents and others. He said he intends to coach somewhere next season.