PNG leaders talk “difficult” hiring process for next head coach, AD

Published 12:32 am Thursday, January 27, 2022

For the first time since 2009, Port Neches-Groves Independent School District has an opening for head football coach and athletic director.

Administrators posted the position on the district’s website this week after news broke that Sulphur Springs ISD recommended Brandon Faircloth for the same position. Faircloth accepted the offer following a board meeting Monday.

Now, PNG must find someone to fill the position as soon as possible with diligence.

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“We will post the position for 10 days and begin the difficult process of selecting those individuals that might be the best fit here at PNG,” Superintendent Mike Gonzales said in a statement to Port Arthur Newsmedia.

“We hope to make our recommendations after our district committee identifies the individual. We hope we can get someone as soon as possible, however, we will take as much time as needed.”

School Board President Scott Bartlett said the board would treat the hire the same as any other position.

“The board hires the superintendent, but everyone under him that is an administrator is hired through a committee process,” Bartlett said. “The committee will make a recommendation to the board, and the board has final approval. We don’t have a say in who they pick. We just have a say in the final approval.”

Bartlett does not know the names of the people who will make up the committee but shared insight on the group’s makeup.

“It will be five members, and they are all members of the district,” he said. “There will not be any board members on the committee, nor are there going to be members of the community. We are going to treat this as if it is an administrative position.”

Bartlett said time is of the essence with spring football set to start in the near future.

“The committee is going to take their time and vet every candidate that they deem worthy of the interview. I don’t think there is an exact timeframe. We don’t even know how many qualified applicants we are going to receive…I do know they would like to have someone in place before the spring football season starts.”

The school board president said he hopes the opening draws interest from across the state.

“I want someone that is going to be the best fit for the PNG student athletes,” Bartlett said. “That is what I am looking for — someone who is going to put kids above everything in all that they do. The reason we are all here is to make sure every child has the perfect opportunity at PNGISD.

“We really want to bring in the best, and you can’t do that if you limit it geographically. Our hope is that we get some big names from all over the state that are looking to settle down in Port Neches-Groves and get to work coaching a football team.”

Bartlett also said style of coaching will likely play a factor in the decision-making process.

Schools across the state are set to learn the new district alignments Feb. 3. For the Indians, PNG High School Principal Scott Ryan will handle team draws and scheduling at the meeting.