Tom Bean making football, AD changes less than a year after last ones

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat

Less than seven months after making major changes in the athletic department, Tom Bean will have some more coming soon at the athletic director and head football coach spots.

The school district has posted an opening looking for a head football coach and athletic director, once again joini those two roles after they have been split since April 2018.

Aaron Whitmire was elevated to lead the football program in May after Zach Wood resigned following three seasons and lasted only a single year in charge.

The next head coach will be the program’s eighth in the past 12 seasons with none of the most recent seven getting past a third year.

Tom Bean finished 0-9 overall and 0-5 in District 5-2A (I) action this past fall, going winless for the first time since 2006. The Tomcats, who had a game cancelled due to COVID-19, lost their season-opener, 26-22, against Morton and then had only one other game decided by fewer than 34 points.

Tom Bean was shut out in its final six games and managed just five touchdowns across its first three contests. Opponents outscored the Tomcats 452-40 on the season and 353-0 in the last six games.

It was a big step back from a 2-6 mark during a 2020 season where they were scheduled to play nine games and ended up having another cancelled due to COVID-19. The Tomcats went 1-4 in 5-2A (I) play but a win in the season finale against Collinsville would have forced a three-way tie with the Pirates and Trenton for third place.

The program hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 or won a playoff game since 2004. Back-to-back playoff appearances in 2018 and 2019 marked the first time Tom Bean made consecutive postseason trips since three straight from 2002-04 and for just the third time in program history, also joining three straight trips from 1993-95.

This was Whitmire’s second stint at Tom Bean, which began in 2019, as a football assistant and head powerlifting coach. His initial stint at Tom Bean was as offensive coordinator for 2011 and 2012.

Whitmire has made several stops around Texoma across a span of more than two decades, including time at Denison, Whitewright, Collinsville and Bells, where he had been an assistant for two years before being elevated to lead the Panthers in 2010. Bells went 6-5 that season, earned the program’s first playoff berth since 1997 and had the best record by a Panthers squad from 1998 to 2014.

At that same time Whitmire was promoted head softball coach Lance Cherry was also given the athletic director title, which was open after Wes Chapman stepped down as AD and head boys basketball coach to become the communications director at Sherman Bible Church.

Cherry will continue in his role as head softball coach for Lady Tomcats and he enters his 16th year overseeing the program, which has made several deep playoff runs in his tenure, including reaching a region final, and set the school record for wins with 25.

Tom Bean has made the playoffs 12 times in his 15 seasons, including a current streak of five years, and made the region final in 2017, losing 2-0 against eventual Class 2A state champion Bells and finishing with a 24-4 mark.

The program had made the third round of the playoffs just once before Cherry took over (1999) and has been there six times under his guidance. The Lady Tomcats have made the second round in all 12 of his playoff trips.

He was the assistant softball coach at Grayson College from 2002-06, helping the Lady Vikings to four straight region tournament berths, before taking over at Tom Bean.