The Sherman ISD announced the hiring of Bob Jones as its athletic director, a little more than a month since deciding to reinstate the position after a four-year gap without one.

Jones, who has 27 years of experience across the middle school and high school level, has been the business development manager for Austin-based Hellas Construction, which focuses on building athletic fields, since early 2018.

He took that role after spending two and a half years in an athletic-director only position for Bastrop ISD, which is located southeast of Austin.

During his tenure there Jones helped along the addition of a second Class 5A high school to the district’s athletic endeavors.

His first day in Sherman will be March 16. Director of Communications Kimberly Simpson said there were around 50 applicants for the position.

“My family and I are honored and privileged to be a part of the Sherman ISD family,” Jones said in a release. “Throughout my career, I have watched Sherman athletes achieve success. I look forward to continuing the Bearcat tradition and can’t wait to get to work.”

Late last month Sherman began its search for an AD-only position due to the continuing growth of the district. Sherman’s new high school will open during the upcoming academic year 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.

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 which reports to Dr. Tamy Smalskas, who is the Assistant Superintendent for Student Engagement and Support.

As part of the hiring process, feedback was accepted from parents, students, athletes and members of the community as to what they wanted to see from the position.

“I’m pleased to welcome Coach Jones to Sherman. He has the experience, vision, and commitment to lead our athletic programs to even greater levels of success,” Sherman superintendent Dr. David Hicks said in a statement. “He knows how to win, but more importantly, he knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes to be outstanding young men and women of high character.”

Jones’ coaching career stretches back to the 1980s, when he started as an assistant coach at the college level. He began at the University of Nebraska at Kearney before going to North Dakota State, including an NCAA Division II national title in 1985.

In the high school ranks, he served as the defensive coordinator at Pleasanton and Rosenberg Terry before moving to powerhouse Converse Judson. He was on the staff that won the Class 5A Division I state championship in 1995 and was the runner-up the following season.

Jones became a head coach at Fort Worth Dunbar in 1997 and was there for seven years, making the playoffs five times and winning four district titles.

He then went to Aldine for five years from 2004-08 and made it to the postseason twice. Jones finished his 15-year run as a head coach with three seasons at Shepherd and was 75-78 overall.

The last athletic director at Sherman was when Tommy Hudspeth served in an interim role from 2014-16.

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

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 positions.

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 the following 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 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.

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 remained vacant for the past four years until Jones’ hire.