The wheels are finally beginning to turn in Sherman’s search for a new head football coach.

The wheels are finally beginning to turn in Sherman’s search for a new head football coach.

Interestingly, only the position of head coach is currently being sought for a replacement, and not a permanent athletic director, as it appears consideration is being given to splitting the duties. The opening for head coach was posted on the Sherman Independent School District website on Thursday, but all applications will be farmed out to an outside headhunting firm.

"Champion Search Firm Consultants is handling the application and selection process for the position of Head Football Coach at Sherman High School," the job posting states. "All inquiries should be addressed to Champion Search Firm Consultants."

This is the company that Denison ISD successfully used in its hiring of current head coach Chad Rogers in 2012. However, Champion also handled the ill-fated search to replace Ronnie Tipps at a cost of approximately $3,300 to Sherman ISD taxpayers 11 years ago which culminated in the promotion of Tipps’ longtime defensive coordinator, Drew Young, as a fallback.

On May 14, 2003, following the search firm’s activity, the Sherman ISD board of trustees voted 4-3 to offer Garland Naaman Forest’s Bill Patterson the job of head coach and AD after Tipps had left to become the AD at Southlake Carroll. Patterson declined to accept the job the next day, citing the divided vote.

Five days after Patterson’s withdrawal, Young — also a finalist named by Champion, and the logical choice to extend the Tipps legacy to begin with — was approved, this time in a unanimous 7-0 vote.

This time around, Sherman is hoping for a cleaner process, and would like to have a replacement coach in place well before spring football practice in May.

"There’s a 10-day posting (window), and then there are three to four weeks approximately," Sherman interim athletic director Tommy Hudspeth said. "We’ll use the search firm to screen (the applicants), and hopefully we’d like to name someone by the first of April, or maybe even by spring break if everything goes well."

The job of head football coach has been vacant since Gary Kinne submitted his resignation to superintendent Al Hambrick on Jan. 17. The resignations of Kinne and his wife Laurie, an elementary teacher, were accepted by the Sherman ISD board three days later.

Kinne, who was 41-18 in five seasons in Sherman, won two district championships in 2010 and 2011 and led the Bearcats to the 2011 state quarterfinals, departed under a cloud that extended beyond a 4-6 record and missing the playoffs last fall.

In October, Kinne was handed a one-game suspension, a two-year probation and a public reprimand by the University Interscholastic League executive committee. The punishment stemmed from direct participation and use of school equipment at an out-of-state 7-on-7 tournament which were caught on video last summer.

Kinne served the suspension during his team’s highest-profile game of the year, the Battle of the Ax, which was won by Denison, 42-24. The following week, Kinne was stripped of his duties as athletic director by Hambrick, and Hudspeth, a former Bearcats head coach and school administrator, was appointed as interim AD in November.

Kinne still had two years remaining on his contract with Sherman ISD, but faced certain non-renewal and the possibility of reassignment if he remained.

Kinne is among the candidates to take over as head football coach and AD at White Settlement Brewer, near Fort Worth. In early 2012, Kinne was a finalist for the job at Class 5A Flower Mound.