HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) – Houston Baptist University and Athletic Director Steve Moniaci are very close to making a decision regarding their first-ever Head Football Coach. Initially, raising the necessary funds to hire a coach and partial staff was the hurdle to kick-starting the process. That hurdle has since been leaped as the funds are now readily available, says Moniaci.
“We’ve gone far enough along that the amount of money that we have to have isn’t as great as it was two months ago obviously. The year is getting shorter. So, we’ve been able to raise what we need to raise now to go ahead and move forward.”
Moving forward rather quickly with hiring the Head Coach is what Moniaci says he and the administration would like to do. They are aware that most college and high school programs have already started football-related activities.
“I would have liked to have had somebody in here already because I know once we get by spring break here, high schools around here are going to start with their spring drills. The ones that do spring drills are going to start with their spring drills and you’d like to have somebody out. So, we’re going to move just as swiftly as we can to try and get this thing going.”
Moniaci stated that he didn’t want to set a deadline because that deadline can move depending on circumstances and even more specifically, the right candidate. HBU wants to hire who they believe will be the right person for the job.
Moniaci also stated that HBU will have a football recruiting class on campus in the fall. So, that makes it even more critical to get the head coach hired.
DOWN TO SINGLE DIGITS
Moniaci initially had a national pool of about 100 candidates from which to choose. Current and former professional head coaches applied, as well as current pro assistants, current college head coaches, current college assistants, and current high school coaches. The list of potential candidates is much shorter now, says Moniaci.
“I would say we’ve got it down to single digits – yes – we definitely have it down to single digits.” Moniaci was asked if his list is down to five candidates or less. “It’s more than that. But, it is in single digits now.”
There’s a good chance that the Huskies will stay local which means hiring a coach who has ties to Houston and surrounding areas. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will hire a coach who currently resides in Houston.
Moniaci also added that the plan is to hire the head coach and two assistants to get the program moving forward.
NO STRANGER TO COACHING HIRES
Moniaci served 26 years across town at Rice University before being hired as the Athletic Director at Houston Baptist. He remembers exactly how former long-time Rice Athletic Director Bobby May handled the hiring of Ken Hatfield, the Head Football Coach of the Owls from 1994 to 2005.
“When Bobby called Ken to ask about ‘who should we hire’, and Ken said ‘well I’m interested’, well, we moved pretty quickly at that point.”
“Kind of the way it worked at Rice is the majority of the football searches were handled by several of the Board of Trustee members and the Athletic Director. The majority of the rest of the searches were handled in-house. And so, I was pretty heavily involved in most of the other searches; not so heavily involved in the football searches.”
“But, as you can imagine, the football search was pretty short when Coach Hatfield said he was interested in the job.”
The rest is history just the same as it will be for Houston Baptist University as they look to hire their first-ever head football coach.