Larry Hill, one of the San Antonio area’s most successful high school football coaches the past two decades, has applied for the head coaching job at the University of the Incarnate Word, multiple sources said Thursday.
Hill has compiled a 192-53 record in 19 seasons at Smithson Valley, leading the Rangers to the state finals three times. He coached at Jourdanton for two years, and has a 202-64 career record.
UIW defensive coordinator Todd Ivicic, named the Cardinals’ interim coach in late October after Mike Santiago resigned with three games left in the school’s third season, and UIW offensive coordinator Tony Marciano also have applied.
Other applicants include West Texas A&M defensive coordinator Colby Carthel and Texas A&M-Kingsville offensive coordinator Clay Patterson.
San Antonio native Hal Mumme, head coach at Division III McMurry, also has been mentioned as a candidate for the job. Mumme also has been a head coach at Kentucky and New Mexico State.
Hill, 51, had a preliminary phone interview Thursday with a search committee headed by UIW athletic director Mark Papich.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that,” Papich said when asked whether Hill is among the applicants for the job. “Really, I can’t comment on any of the applicants.”
Hill did not respond to email messages asking for his comment, nor did he return a phone message left with his secretary at Smithson Valley. But sources familiar with the process said Hill, who never has coached on the college level, applied for the job.
Papich said the search committee is interviewing only coaches who have applied.
Papich: UIW plans to hire coach by Christmas weekend
While Papich declined to comment on Hill, he said the search committee is considering all applicants.
“Collegiate experience is not necessarily a requirement,” Papich said. “We just want the best coach to move this program in the right direction.”
Papich said UIW plans to hire its new coach by Christmas weekend. He said the search committee will send a “minimum” of three finalists to school president Louis Agnese by next Tuesday.
“We’ll coordinate the interviews with the schedules of Dr. Agnese and the administrators that work with him,” Papich said. “We are looking to finalize everything by Dec. 23.”
While Papich and the search committee continue to pore over applications Friday, the UIW Board of Trustees will meet on campus to determine whether to allocate funds for a feasibility study regarding a move to Division I in all sports.
UIW, which played its first football season in 2009, currently competes in NCAA Division II and is in its second school year as a member of the Lone Star Conference.
Agnese has said moving to Division I is part of UIW’s “master plan.” In a survey conducted last month, UIW students indicated they favored the move to Division I but said they opposed raising student fees to help fund the move.
UIW would compete in FCS if it leaves Division II
Papich said his preliminary report in October estimated that UIW would need $4.5 million “over and above what we spend now” to make the move to Division I.
“What the board of trustees will vote on Friday is whether it’s feasible for UIW to expand its footprint into Division I,” Papich said.
If the Cards moved to Division I, they would lobby to join the Southland Conference. The football team would play in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA.
Papich said he spoke with LSC Commissioner Stan Wagnon on Thursday to tell him of Friday’s board of trustees meeting.
UIW went 10-18 under Santiago, 56. The Cards were 2-5 when Santiago resigned and lost their last three games with Ivicic at the helm, finishing 2-8 overall and 2-6 in the LSC. The Cards went 5-5 as a Division II independent in their inaugural season and finished 3-8 last year.
Citing “philosophical differences,” Santiago and UIW school officials mutually agreed to sever ties after complaints of the coach’s purported verbal abuse of players and assistant coaches during practice and games “reached the boiling point,” as one source put it.
Ivicic coordinating UIW’s recruiting campaign
Ivicic, a 1986 Taylor High School graduate, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology from Sam Houston State. He played defensive end for the Bearkats in 1989 and 1990.
Ivicic, 44, was an assistant coach at Tarleton State in the three seasons preceding his hiring at UIW in 2007. He was an assistant under Santiago for six seasons, 1999-2004, at Stephen F. Austin.
One of the UIW’s best recruiters, Ivicic has stayed busy since the end of the season.
“In college, it’s all about recruiting,” he said. “If you don’t recruit, you’re going to die.”
Ivicic and other assistants on Santiago’s staff are on contract through the end of the 2012 season.
“I’ve got a job at Incarnate Word whether I’m the head coach or not,” Ivicic said. “People have questions about what’s going to happen. All I tell them is that I’m going to be a coach on this staff next year. I will be the defensive coordinator at minimum. We’re working hard with recruiting.
“It can be difficult at times when you don’t know who your head coach is going to be, but I work for Incarnate Word and I’m giving them an honest day’s work. I want to be the head coach and that’s my message right now, just preaching all the good things about Incarnate Word and its future.”