S&S head football coach and athletic director James Gage stepped down from both positions on Wednesday morning after being hired as the offensive coordinator at Alvin.
The Rams gave Gage the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time four years ago and he went 15-28 with three playoff appearances at the school.
Alvin, a Class 6A program, went 0-10 last season and Gage is joining the staff of Tim Teykl, who was hired earlier this month after spending two seasons on the University of Houston staff. Before that he was the head coach for 26 years at Terry, going 160-112-1 with 16 playoff appearances.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get back into a big school working for a well-respected head coach,” Gage said. “My long-term goal is to be a big school head coach, so I feel like this opportunity gives me a chance to get my foot back in the door.”
Gage, the son of Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor member Ronnie Gage, came to S&S after serving as the offensive coordinator for two seasons at Barbers Hill and had been on staff there for five seasons serving under his father.
This past season S&S went 0-10 as injuries hampered the program’s chase for a sixth straight playoff appearance, trying to extend the longest streak in school history. The Rams lost their top two quarterbacks within three plays in the season-opener and the domino effect on the offensive personnel led to a year-long struggle.
S&S managed to scored more than two touchdowns just once and was shut out three times, scoring a total of 12 points over the final five contests. Three games were decided by 14 points or less as the Rams tried to avoid their first winless campaign since 2011.
In 2017 Gage guided the team to a 6-5 record and third-place finish in the district standings with a bi-district loss against Jacksboro.
S&S went 4-7 and finished fourth in district in Gage’s first year, losing to Lone Oak in the bi-district round before a 5-6 record the following season with a first-round playoff loss against Henrietta.
Gage’s hire was part of sweeping changes in the S&S athletic department as the ISD re-combined the head football coach and athletic director position. His predecessor, Garrett Patterson, was reassigned despite back-to-back region semifinal appearances — the best two seasons in school history — and Gage had to hire head coaches for girls basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball in addition to a majority of his football staff.
Despite his short tenure, Gage leaves tied for fifth in school history, alongside Dave Yowell in 1981-83, in wins. He was five wins from being third and if he had returned in the fall, his fifth season would have made him the longest-tenured Rams coach since Stephen DuBose from 1995-2003 and the third-longest in school history.
The Rams will remain with District 5 opponents Callisburg, Gunter, Henrietta, Holliday, Nocona and Wichita Falls City View in Class 3A Division II for the 2019 season before the University Interscholastic League’s realignment process in February.