I'm a coach's wife, telling a story the best I know how. It's important and I want to get it right! Jump on the train quick for the Temple Wildcats are gathering steam! Their destination is unknown but their desire is for greatness. Prayerfully join us as God unfolds a new chapter. They've all been good but I won't be surprised if He's saved the best for last!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A New Chapter!

Temple selects Cooper's Spradlin over Yoe's Rhoades for coach/AD job
by Greg Wille
Published: February 4, 2011

Abilene Cooper’s Mike Spradlin was chosen Thursday as the finalist to become Temple’s football coach and athletic director. “I’ve coached long enough to know Temple is storied on tradition and has got the makings of something real special,” said Spradlin, who had a 37-23 record at Cooper and is expected to receive school board approval Monday. (Photo courtesy of Abilene Reporter-News)While driving back home to Abilene late Thursday afternoon, Mike Spradlin sounded plenty ready to start as Temple's new head football coach and athletic director.

The Abilene Cooper coach will have to wait for approval from the Temple ISD school board Monday before he officially gets to begin guiding the Wildcats' fortunes.

After interviewing Spradlin and Cameron Yoe coach Rick Rhoades on Thursday, Temple Independent School District announced during the afternoon that its superintendent, Dr. Robin Battershell, will recommend Spradlin, 56, for the coach/AD position at the board of trustees' special meeting at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

"I'm flattered and honored," said Spradlin, who plans to be at the board meeting Monday and on the Temple High School campus next Tuesday and Wednesday before starting full-time Feb. 14. "I felt so impressed with the whole process and the people I've met, the superintendent and the assistant superintendents.

"I've coached long enough to know Temple is storied on tradition and has got the makings of something real special," said Spradlin, who rebuilt Cooper's program by going 37-23 with six playoff wins and two district championships in five years. "I'm leaving a real good situation, but I've got a gut feeling that something special can happen. It's going to be a process and I'll get down there and start building relationships."

Temple ISD spokeswoman Regina Corley said the eight-person community search committee and Battershell's senior leadership team decided unanimously to select Spradlin as the lone finalist following Thursday's interviews.

"It was a unanimous decision to recommend Coach Spradlin. We think he's the best fit for our district," Corley said in summarizing the feelings of Battershell and the committee members. "Either one would have been a good choice."

If approved, Spradlin will bring a 12-season, four-school head coaching record of 80-54 - including leading Cooper to the third round of the state playoffs the last three years - to a struggling Temple program that's 37-77 with one postseason victory in the last 11 seasons under David Beal (2000-02), Tam Hollingshead (2003-04) and Bryce Monsen (2005-10).

Rhoades brought stellar credentials to the table, including a seven-season head coaching record of 62-26 highlighted by state championship game berths at Class 4A New Braunfels in 2002 and 2A Yoe in 2010. His 2010 Yoemen won their first 14 games before losing 33-27 to now-three-time reigning champion Daingerfield in the 2A Division I state final.

After Temple called to give him its decision Thursday, Rhoades said he gave his best effort to get the job and now looks forward to continuing work in Cameron, which hired him less than two years ago.

"I think (the interview) went well," Rhoades said. "My reaction to the news is I feel like I would have been blessed I would have gotten the job, but I've got a great situation here in Cameron, so it's a win-win situation.

"I wouldn't change anything. I wanted to do the best I can. It's nice to get back to work here and I'm glad the process is behind me. (Temple) handled it real well. I think Coach Spradlin will get them rolling."

Rhoades indicated something about the interview process that might have put him at a disadvantage compared to Spradlin, who's talked openly about how appealing he finds the opportunity to reinvigorate Temple's struggling program.

"On the phone call from Dr. Battershell she said she felt my heart was really in Cameron," Rhoades said. "There's probably some truth to that, and it probably came out in the interview.

"I'm in a situation where within five years all four of my kids will be in college, so I'd be crazy not to look at it," he said of the Temple job. "Temple was a good situation because of the proximity to Cameron and that in a lot of ways they're very similar - great pride and tradition."

Spradlin is a graduate of Dallas Carter (1973) and the University of Houston (1977), where he played for the Cougars' 1976 Southwest Conference and Cotton Bowl championship team. He was college teammates with current Baylor coach Art Briles and served as Briles' offensive line coach at Houston from 2003-05 before heading to Cooper.

Spradlin's other head coaching stops were at Midland Christian (15-7 from 1996-97), Navasota (6-5 in 1998) and Round Rock Westwood (22-19 from 1999-2002). He worked in private business from 1987-95.

In 2006 his first Cooper team lost at Temple, breaking the Wildcats' 17-game losing streak. A year later the Cougars edged Temple's district championship team in Abilene, and Spradlin's last three teams went a combined 28-11 - 8-5 and 9-4 in 4A, then 11-2 last fall back in 5A.

With junior and first-year starter Clayton Nicholas passing for more than 2,900 yards and 30 touchdowns in a potent spread offense, Cooper beat Arlington Lamar 41-6 in the first round of the Division II playoffs and Amarillo Tascosa 36-17 in the second round before losing 55-7 to eventual state finalist Denton Guyer in a Region I semifinal.

Spradlin is humble about Cooper's recent success.

"It's not about me; I'm just a part of that," he said. "I want to help my team win but I don't take the credit for it. It's a we thing at Cooper - great principal, great coaches, great kids. They're committed."

Spradlin said it's unclear how many assistant coaches will come with him from Cooper to Temple, saying, "I'm sure we'll look at staff issues. I'll work within the system and we'll get the right people on board. I'm a team player."

Spradlin's team in his personal life includes his wife, Roxanne, a 29-year-old son who was a Marine and daughters who are 27 and 25.

Spradlin said anyone who's concerned that he's close to retirement shouldn't be.

"I'm telling you, I don't even think about it," he said. "I'll coach as long as they let me. I have no plans to hang it up."



  1. Well, let me be first to welcome you, Roxanne, to THS and the great Wildcat tradition! My husband Wayne is currently the head track coach and also has 9th grade football. We've been praying for you for many, many weeks and are so very thrilled Coach Spradlin is the man for the job!

    I'm excited to meet you...and to watch and see what the Lord will do through it all for everyone involved. I've appreciated getting to know you better through your blog and love your heart for the wives around you.

    Let me know if I can do anything to help your transition. Go Cats!

  2. Hey, back! Wayne and I have been here for 11 years and love it! I grew up not too far from you now...in Big Spring though I went to school in Coahoma just east of there. I have family in Abilene and have such a fondness for it. Wayne's from Fredericksburg which truly is a great place to visit!

    We have so very much in common...with a love of our guys, our passion for younger women, a love of cooking...and at the heart of it all, a gratitude and love for God! Can't wait to find out more.

    You can get a glimpse of our lives by looking through the categories on the right side. You'll see posts about Wayne (http://isaiah48.blogspot.com/search/label/Wayne) and the other titled "my girls". We have 3 ages 20, 15 and 13. I'm a stay at home mom so my life is mostly about them all!

  3. Not a Wildcat Dad, but a Wildcat Uncle! Roman Mikeska is my nephew and we are proud of him! I graduated from Temple in 1982 and bleed Blue and White. There is so much to be proud of around here, and we are proud to have your husbnand as the Coach of our 'Cats! I look forward to reading y'alls story as "Coach" brings that Blue front, White back magic back to Wildcat Stadium!