While the Southlake Carroll football program is going through a turbulent time off the field as it changes head coach from Hal Wasson to his successor, the on-the-field product is the reason it remains one of the most coveted jobs in Texas.
It will still draw interest from around the state and maybe beyond. After all, this program has won eight state championships and made 18 consecutive postseason appearances dating back to 2000.
Carroll posted its opening on Monday. The only question that would be remaining is who exactly is hiring this coach, athletic director Darren Allman or someone else? Allman led the investigation of the football program, which, in turn, hastened Wasson's departure. The UIL has the 28-page report of Wasson's program, and could had down its own punishment.
With any search comes speculation on who might be some of the potential big names connected with this job. We add some perspective.
Head coach, Austin Westlake
Record: 176-67 (19 seasons)
Notable: This might be the worst kept secret in terms of candidates because his name has been circulating ever since Wasson was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 24. Historically, the sequel is not as good as the original. However, longtime Carroll fans remember the golden era of Dragon football during Dodge’s tenure when the program won four state titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006). He’s in what was believed to be the last stop in his career at Westlake, just finished his fourth season, and took the Chaparrals to the Class 6A Division II state semifinals. Dodge is 46-10 at Westlake. Dodge’s son and former Carroll quarterback, Riley, is the offensive coordinator at Justin Northwest. The potential to be closer to immediate family in DFW exists. Dodge likely will get the right of first refusal.
Head coach, Lucas Lovejoy
Record: 35-32 (six seasons)
Notable: The offensive coordinator under Dodge at Carroll in the 2000s, Ford just completed his second season at Lovejoy and took the program to the 5A state playoffs in 2017. He also began the program at Round Rock Cedar Ridge in 2012. Ford quickly turned that into a winner, reaching the postseason in his last three seasons. Ford understands offense and knows the Carroll program. Plus, he could bring former Carroll offensive coordinator Clayton George back with him. George is Ford’s OC at Lovejoy after leaving a two-year stint at Tyler Lee.
Offensive coordinator, Carroll
Notable: If there is to be an internal candidate considered, Humble would be the one. He has been the Dragons’ offensive coordinator for the previous two seasons and overseen the development of two different quarterbacks: Mason Holmes (4,943 passing yards, 43 TD, 2015-16) and senior-to-be Will Bowers (2,490 passing, 30 TDs, 858 rushinh 8 TDs in 2017). Humble played to the strengths of the offense in each season. At the start of the review of the program, it would have seemed his chances were slim to none. They still may be. However, how he’s viewed now could be different because of the district settling with Wasson.
Head coach, Colleyville Heritage
Record: 85-32 (eight seasons)
Notable: Willis built a strong reputation for himself at Cedar Park (2012 state championship, 2104 final). He came to CHHS with a reputation of driving his players hard but balancing it with building a sense of community and ownership between players, parents and followers. Colleyville Heritage football has enjoyed its best era under him, appearing in the 5A Division I state quarterfinals (2016) and Division I third round (2017). One of the issues Grapevine-Colleyville ISD continues to deal with is its feeder program. Middle schools are split sending students to both Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine. Willis wouldn’t have that issue at Carroll.
Former DeSoto Head Coach
Record: 32-8 (three seasons)
Notable: Because of the intense scrutiny at DeSoto, Peterman stepped down in January by his own choice. However, he did lead the program to its first state championship in school history, the 2016 6A Division II title. Peterman has faced Carroll in each of the past two postseasons, winning once. He’s been viewed as a player’s coach. If he became a candidate, Carroll would have to find out exactly why things ended at DeSoto the way they did.
Head coach, San Angelo Central
Record: 117-88-1 (23 seasons)
Notable: Davis has won everywhere he has been, including taking Sinton to the 2001 3A title game (lost to Everman, 25-14). He rebuilt the Central into a state power and the Bobcats are 55-8 since 2013. However, winning state championships in West Texas are harder to come by because of the population shift. Davis has crafted a very explosive offense. Given all of those elements, it might be the right time for him to move with one of the major names in Texas High School football history.