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Pine Tree ISD narrows search for athletic head

By Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
Feb. 10, 2014 at 10 p.m.


Pine Tree ISD has narrowed its athletic director search to three finalists; meanwhile, the district is beginning to consider the possibility of adding more parking at Pirate Stadium.

Superintendent T.J. Farler said Monday that the district received 85 applications for the athletic director and head football coach position, and narrowed the search to three.

"They just kept coming in," she said. "We interviewed seven people in the first round last week and three candidates rose to the top. We are now interviewing those three and the second round of interviews should be done by the end of this week. If everything goes well, the search committee should have its recommendation by Feb. 21."

Farler declined to comment on whether interim athletic director Derrick Hennigan is one of the finalists.

Hennigan took over as Pine Tree ISD's athletic director in October after the district parted ways with Derek Fitzhenry, who served as athletic director and head coach for 25 games dating back to 2011. Pine Tree went 6-19 under Fitzhenry.

Pine Tree ISD is also discussing the possibility of adding additional parking at Pirate Stadium, Farler said.

The stadium has 927 parking places, but a city ordinance requires a stadium of its size to have 1,967 parking spots.

The district received complaints from fans during the early part of the 2013 football season regarding an insufficient amount of parking spots.

Pine Tree ISD's short-term solution to the problem involved opening up more entries and exits to the stadium as well as having fans park at Lear Park.

UIL realignment brought sweeping changes to Northeast Texas school districts. Pine Tree and Longview ISDs are back in the same district, and thousands of fans from both high schools are certain to flock to games.

Farler said while the Pirates are excited to now be in a district with the Lobos, the discussions about more parking at the stadium had been taking place before the decision was made to put the two schools in the same district.

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