By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
At least Dave Palmer has been here before.
On Feb. 11, 2015, the Troy athletic director began his search for a new football coach, eventually selecting Matt Burgbacher to lead the program.
Exactly four years later, Palmer found out he would have to begin the search to find a football coach yet again, as Burgbacher announced he was leaving Troy to accept the head coaching job at Tippecanoe, his alma mater. Palmer said this time he’ll likely follow a process and timeline similar to the ones he followed four years ago when he hired Burgbacher.
“The first thing we’ll do is post the position,” he said. “Then, over the next 10 days to two weeks, we’ll collect resumes, applications, references, letters of interest — all of those types of things. While that’s happening, we’ll also start putting together a selection committee.”
Palmer said a selection committee was put in place four years ago when Burgbacher was hired. He said the selection committee likely will consist of himself, Troy High School principal Dave Dilbone, a high school staff member, a member of the board office, a member of the Troy Board of Education and at least one member of the community.
“You want to get a good representation of the ‘stakeholders’ in the football program, for lack of a better word,” Palmer said. “You want to get different viewpoints from people within the system and the community. It helps to have those different voices and opinions. Obviously this is a high-profile position we are hiring, and you want some input from other people who might be affected by this hire. Maybe we’ll look at adding another high school coach to the committee, or possibly someone who is a part of the football boosters or parents club.”
Four years ago, Palmer said he received in the neighborhood of three dozen applications for the Troy football head coaching job. At the time, Troy had gone 7-23 the previous three seasons. This time, Troy has gone 28-7 the last three years, won three Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division titles and made three consecutive playoff appearances. He said he hopes Troy’s recent success will create even more interest in the job this time.
“I would think so,” he said. “This is definitely a good position and we are probably in better shape as a program than we were four years ago, having won three consecutive conference titles and going to the playoffs for three years in a row. We’ve had success from the junior high all the way up through our varsity team. We’ve still got great kids coming through the program. We’ve got great assistant coaches in place and we’ve got great support and facilities here at Troy. We think this will be a very desirable job for coaches.”
How long it takes to name a new coach will depend largely on who applies for the job, Palmer said. Four years ago, Burgbacher was selected in late March and formally approved at a Troy Board of Education meeting in April.
“Once we narrow down our applicants, we’ll have them interview with the committee,” Palmer said. “Then there will be a second round of interviews involving the superintendent (Chris Piper). The process itself isn’t very difficult — we’ll follow the same process we did the last time. There is a little sense of urgency, but at the same time, you don’t want to rush things and make a hasty decision. We want to make sure we are making the right decision for our kids.”
In the meantime, he said, next year’s football players will continue their offseason workouts with Troy strength and conditioning coach Aaron Gibbons.
“We don’t actually use the term ‘interim head coach,’ but basically Coach Gibbons will be acting as an ‘interim head coach,’” Palmer said. “He’ll be the one in charge of making sure all of the kids are showing up for lifting and doing all the things they need to do to get ready for next season. He’s going to be an important factor in making sure our program continues to move forward while we are searching for a new head coach.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong