Jehling resigns after four seasons at Howe

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Howe will have a new head football coach next year as Bill Jehling has resigned after a 6-34 record in four seasons.

Howe is looking for a new head football coach and athletic director after Bill Jehling resigned from those positions after four seasons leading the Bulldogs.

Jehling compiled a 6-34 record and ended his time in Howe with a pair of long losing streaks. The Bulldogs will enter the 2022 season having lost 22 straight games as well as a stretch of 16 consecutive district defeats.

The overall losing streak broke the previous longest one in program history, which was 12 from 2004-05, and also the longest winless streak, which included ties, was 19 from 1963-65.

Howe is expected to drop from Class 3A Division I to Class 3A Division II for football in the upcoming realignment. Howe turned in an enrollment of 349, which is one student below the current cutoff of 350 to separate Division II and Division I.

The Bulldogs are coming off their second consecutive 0-10 season that included six District 5-3A (I) losses each year. Before 2020, the only other winless campaign in school history was an 0-9-1 mark in 1964.

While Howe was winless again this past fall, the Bulldogs were more competitive than in 2020, when injuries ravaged the roster and they scored 10 or fewer points in seven of the nine games played on the field — a forfeit occurred for the season-finale due to COVID-19. The best opportunity for a victory came in a 31-29 loss to Bonham on a field goal in the final seconds. Every other game was decided by at least 23 points.

In 2021, Howe scored at least 20 points six times and lost twice by single digits — 27-20 against Weatherford Christian and 43-38 to Emory Rains — and by 10 once — 31-21 against Commerce.

Jehling went 3-7 overall, but 0-6 in district play, in his first season leading the Bulldogs – which was an improvement over a 1-9 campaign in 2017.

Howe again went 3-7 in 2019 with a 2-4 district mark.

Jehling was hired in February of 2018 after Zack Hudson left to take the same position at Mabank. Jehling had spent the previous two years as the head coach at Class 4A Hamshire-Fannett, where he went 1-9 and 2-7. He started his head coaching career in 2013 at Cushing, where he compiled a 5-15 mark in two seasons.

The upcoming change means that six of the past seven Howe coaches leave without a winning record — Hudson went 30-28 — and Hudson is the only Bulldog coach since 2000 to lead the program more than four seasons by getting through his fifth before departing.

In 2016, Howe matched its best playoff showing with a region semifinal appearance and finished 9-4.