Sherman names Allen defensive coordinator Cain as head football coach

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Allen defensive coordinator Cory Cain was introduced as Sherman's head football coach and assistant athletic director.

Cory Cain knows a lot about winning. He’s been part of one of the top programs in the state for the past decade-and-a-half and earned five rings as a symbol of that success.

Now Cain will take all that experience as Allen's defensive coordinator and use it as the leader of a team for the first time as Sherman hired him to be its head football coach and assistant athletic director.

“I’m honored to lead this program. I can’t wait to get to work. I’m excited about my role in educating, leading and empowering the students of Sherman ISD,” Cain said. “I am eager to meet current, former and future Bearcats and start working to make Sherman football the most admired program in the state of Texas.”

SISD moved quickly to fill the vacancy and his contract was approved with a 6-0 vote by the Board of Trustees.

“Coach Cain has the proven experience of winning at the highest level in the toughest 6A division,” Sherman athletic director Bob Jones said. “I believe Sherman is an ideal place for him to build on our success and take the program to the next level.”

Cain replaces J.D. Martinez, who stepped down a little more than two weeks ago after five seasons to take the head football coach and athletic director position at Bridgeport.

“I think the people here are really, really behind the program and behind the schools. You've seen the commitment by the community and by the administration on the building and the facilities that they've built for the high school," Cain said. "You put it all together and it's a great combination. I think it's going to be a great situation."

He had been an assistant for the Class 6A powerhouse since 2006 and was elevated to Allen’s defensive coordinator in 2010. During his time with the Eagles they amassed a 195-15 overall record with five state championships (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017), four other appearances in the state semifinals and won the district title every season.

Cain, who also was the school’s Athletic Academic Advisor, has been a part of 10 undefeated regular seasons at Allen, including the past eight, and the Eagles have a 53-10 playoff mark in his time there. The program has a current streak of 99 straight regular-season wins and had a 57-game winning streak from 2012-15.

This past season Allen went 10-1 with a region semifinal loss against Euless Trinity.

"I want us to be fundamentally sound. I want us to play as hard as we can play," Cain said. "On offense I want to be up-tempo and play really, really fast. Defensively I want to be very multiple and be aggressive, get after people."

Cain, who grew up in Muenster, began his career as an assistant for one season at Wichita Falls Hirschi right after graduating from Midwestern State and then was at Kaufman from 2002-04 and served as Red Oak’s defensive coordinator in 2005 before moving to Allen.

Twice Cain has been a finalist when Allen had a head coaching search — first in 2016 when it hired the man who was the DC before Cain, Terry Gambill, and then six weeks ago when Gambill announced his retirement.

Allen hired former Arkansas and SMU head coach Chad Morris, who then named Brandies head coach David Branscom as his defensive coordinator.

In five seasons under Martinez, the Bearcats went 24-28 and made the playoffs three times. This past fall Sherman went 5-5 overall and 4-1 in District 7-5A (I). The Bearcats tied Longview for second place — their match-up was cancelled due to COVID-19 — and were the third seed based on a tie-breaker. Sherman lost against College Station, 38-26, in the bi-district round.

The Cats will remain in 7-5A (I) with Highland Park, Longview, McKinney North, Wylie East, Tyler and West Mesquite for the 2021 season before February’s realignment. Sherman is expected to remain in 5A for the upcoming realignment cycle but may need to sweat out the 6A cutoff number.

With continued growth in Sherman, a move to 6A could almost be expected in 2024, which would be Cain’s fourth season and potentially put him in a district with his former team.

While Sherman made back-to-back playoff berths in 2017 and 2018, the first consecutive trips by the program since a run of five straight from 2008-12, the Bearcats are still seeking their first postseason victory since 2012. Sherman is also looking to snap an eight-game losing streak in the Battle of the Ax.

"I know the Ax needs to come on home to Sherman," Cain said.

The Sherman-Denison match-up is featuring new head coaches on both sides for the first time since 1945 — when it was Sherman’s Finis Vaughn against Denison’s Arnold Johnson — after the Yellow Jackets hired Brent Whitson away from South Grand Prairie last month.

Cain is familiar with his new rival as they met in December during the area round of the playoffs and Allen had a 20-16 victory to go with a 28-14 victory over South Grand Prairie in the area round in 2017.

"Coach Whitson and I, we've played against each other four or five times over the years," Cain said. "We have a little history. It'll be fun."