By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
MABANK–It was a short stay in Mabank for former Head Football Coach Alan Haire.
After less than two months on the job in Mabank, Haire left the post he took in mid January to become the Athletic Director at Stephenville Independent School District. Former Mabank offensive coordinator Mickey Thompson takes over as the Panthers head coach.
Haire’s arrival in January was widely viewed as a positive move for the Panthers and its football program. Before his stint in Mabank, Haire spent 13 seasons at Lago Vista High School. He took over the three-year-old football program in 2002 and led the Vikings to the playoffs just five seasons later. By 2010 he brought the team to the 2A Division 1 semifinals. His overall record at Lago Vista was 81-62.
He said when coming to Mabank that he chose the Panthers because the team was “in need of some accomplishment” and he was ready to “accept new challenges and be somewhere the good Lord is leading me to make a difference.”
Haire is now ready to make a difference with the Stephenville Yellow Jackets and oversee its sports programs. Stephenville is not short on accomplishment, as its football program is regarded as one of the top 4-A outfits in Texas. Stephenville won four state championships in the 90’s and another as recently as 2012.
Other details add to why Haire may have left Mabank for the Yellow Jackets. Stephenville ISD’s Superintendent, Matt Underwood was previously the Superintendent over Haire at Lago Vista until October 2014. Underwood told the Stephenville Empire Tribune that “Haire was my athletic director and head football coach in Lago Vista. He basically built that football program. I think he’s a total program kind of guy. He builds good character.”
Haire has another connection to Stephenville, as he graduated from Tarleton State University and played on its football team.
The Athletic Director job opened up in Stephenville after Yellow Jackets Head Coach and A.D. Joseph Gillespie left for a job at the University of Tulsa in January.
The beneficiary of the school shuffling is Thompson, who was named Panthers Head Coach earlier this week. Mabank Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said Thompson was a great fit because he “has already proven his commitment to our kids.” Thompson served as the interim head coach before Haire was hired.
Thompson is now tasked with getting Mabank back into the playoffs and the winning side of the score line. The Panthers have won just three games in the past two years and face tough district opponents Van, Athens and Kaufman.