The Sherman Independent School District announced that it will be creating an athletic director position for the entire ISD due to the continuing growth of the district.

Technically, Sherman has been without a full-time athletic director since the fall of 2013. In the past six-plus years there has been an interim AD and then current head football coach J.D. Martinez has been the district's athletic coordinator — a position that reports to Dr. Tamy Smalskas, who is the Assistant Superintendent for Student Engagement and Support.

Sherman released a statement about the new AD position, which will be posted in the next week.

“As our district experiences enrollment growth, we remain focused on the best academic, artistic and athletic experiences for our students,” the release said. “In August of 2020, Sherman ISD will open a new high school and add a second middle school campus, doubling the number of middle school coaches and teams.

“Because of this growth, it is the right time to separate the administrative and coaching duties that exist in our current structure and add a position that is dedicated primarily to developing all of our athletic programs.”

The change comes at the directive of superintendent Dr. David Hicks, who took over in January 2014 when Tommy Hudspeth was serving as the interim athletic director.

“It's not a board decision. It's an administrative one,” SISD Director of Communications Kimberly Simpson said. “It's simply about us growing and meeting the needs of the Transition 2020 plan.”

Sherman's new high school will open this fall as part of a $176 million bond package passed in 2017. The current high school building will be turned into a second middle school campus and join Piner Middle School at that educational level in the city.

The goal is to have someone in place by August at the latest as the new school year approaches. There is no timetable for the process.

“It is not posted yet but it will be posted shortly,” Simpson said. “The structure will be determined.”

Under the current setup, Martinez oversees boys athletics and girls basketball coach David Upton is the girls athletics coordinator.

“The new athletic director position will be responsible for building on our past successes by continuing to cultivate strong relationships with our youth sports leagues, increasing student participation in our athletics programs and supporting our outstanding coaches in every sport,” the release stated.

During the 1980s, Jimmye Phillips served in an AD-only role at Sherman before the hiring of John Outlaw in 1988 combined the athletic director and head football coach roles.

It stayed that way until November 2013 when Garry Kinne committed University Interscholastic League violations and was stripped of the AD title by then Superintendent Dr. Al Hambrick until Kinne resigned in January.

Hudspeth was asked to take over on an interim basis and was in charge until early 2016, when he stepped down before Martinez was hired in late February of that year.

“When the situation came up that I could help out for a period of time, I was willing to talk to (the district),” said Hudspeth, who passed away in August 2016 at 82, at the time of the appointment. “I'm just helping for a period of time.”

When Sherman was looking for a head football coach following Kinne's departure, it signaled a commitment to keep the jobs split. After Bill Patterson resigned following two seasons as Sherman's football coach in December 2015, Hudspeth had already expressed wanting to return to retirement and thought both positions would be recombined.

“The quick way to get me out of the picture would be to get someone to do both jobs,” Hudspeth said at the time.

But no permanent hire was ever made to replace Hudspeth and Martinez was eventually given the athletic coordinator title.

During the search that led to Martinez's hire, the AD spot was open and it was believed to be a matter of time before it was filled. However, it has remained vacant for the past four years.