By BRAD KEITH
The search for a new head football coach at Tarleton State is expected to begin heating up this week.
Tarleton athletic director Lonn Reisman has already received calls and resumes from numerous interested candidates, even though the opening has yet to be officially posted.
"Word has gotten out that (Sam) McElroy has left and is already working at Texas Tech, and we've already received calls and resumes from people all over," Reisman said. "We just can't do anything until the opening is officially posted."
Reisman says the process of making the opening official should be complete this week, at which time a committee of 4-6 people will be formed.
"As soon as the job is posted, I'll get the committee together and we'll start going over resumes," Reisman said. "I hope to start doing interviews in two weeks and have a new head coach in place by the middle of March."
Reisman elected not to divulge names of individuals he will ask to participate on the committee, but says they will come from various areas of the university.
"There will be some all academic people and some all athletic people," he said. "This is a university decision, not just a football decision. I want representatives from different areas of our university to have the opportunity to participate in the process."
The start of spring football practice appears to hinge on the hiring process.
"My preference would be to have a head coach in place when spring ball starts," Reisman said. "I think spring ball is very important, and whoever our new head coach is, he deserves the opportunity to use that time to install his philosophy and build on the success we've had with our football program."
McElroy resigned Feb. 2 to become defensive line coach on Tommy Tuberville's staff at Texas Tech.
In five years, McElroy guided the Texans to a 40-15 record, two Lone Star Conference South Division co-championships and one LSC leaguewide co-championship. His 2009 Texans won 10 games for just the third time in school history and picked up the school's second NCAA Division II playoff win.
Cary Fowler was immediately named interim head coach. Fowler, who is a candidate for the job, has coordinated both the defense and recruiting efforts at Tarleton each of the last two years.